Steve Bruce will not change attacking approach despite absence of Callum Wilson

Damian Spellman, PA

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce has vowed not to abandon his more attacking approach despite the loss of leading scorer Callum Wilson.

The Magpies have attempted to play a less conservative brand of football in recent games having been pilloried for their defensive tactics, and have been rewarded with two victories in their last three Premier League outings after a run of nine without a win.

However, 10-goal frontman Wilson is now facing an eight-week lay-off after tearing a hamstring during last weekend’s 3-2 success against Southampton, although Bruce sees no reason to change when they head for Chelsea on Monday evening.

He said: “I don’t think the approach is going to be any different. We’ve decided this is the way forward for us, so we’ll keep the same thing we’ve been trying to achieve.”

Wilson is one of a trio of men who will occupy the treatment room at the club’s Darsley Park training headquarters over the coming weeks with central defender Fabian Schar having undergone knee surgery and full-back Javier Manquillo having sustained ankle ligament damage

That has become a depressing theme for Bruce, who is hoping defenders Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez might be available this week to join Allan Saint-Maximin, who made his first start since November 21 against the Saints following his recovery from Covid-19, back in the team.

Asked if he had been left cursing his luck, he said: “It hasn’t been great, I have to tell you. In that respect, we’ve been blighted with injury and illness, unfortunately.

“When I see a big team like Tottenham, how reliant they are on somebody like [Harry] Kane, then of course you do need your big players, especially at the top end of the pitch and unfortunately, we’ve been dealt another blow.

“Let’s hope we can cope with it, let’s hope somebody can step up to the mark. We have certainly got players who are capable, let’s hope they can grasp it.

“It’s the one thing we can’t change, it is what it is and we have to have somebody now who can step up.

“They will be hard shoes to fill because of the impact Callum has had. To have 10 goals in a team which is halfway in the bottom half of the division is a wonderful return.”

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