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Newcastle vs. Fulham - Eddie Howe: Pre-Match Press Conference

Golden nuggets from Howe before hosting Fulham in the next Premier League game

Newcastle United Training Session Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Quite a couple of weeks it’s been around Tyneside, haven’t they?

Newcastle kicked the calendar year off by drawing with Premier League leaders Arsenal on Jan. 3, then lost their FA Cup game at Sheffield Wednesday on Jan. 7 because of Eddie Howe deploying a heavily-rotated side, and they capped a seven-day span with a victory over Leicester in the Carabao Cup on Jan. 10 to punch their tickets to the first League Cup semi-final the club has reached since 1976.

Now facing the last game of the first half of January, Newcastle will host Fulham at SJP for their 19th game of the Premier League campaign and Fulham’s 20th after they already completed their postponed matchup against fellow Londoners from Chelsea last Thursday.

You might think Fulham are just a bunch of randos, but that’d be hugely separated from reality: the Cottagers sit in sixth with 31 points of a possible 57 and although they have played two more games than Liverpool (28 points) in seventh and one more than Tottenham (33) in fifth, the lads with the white shirts and the black pants have already sealed their survival in the EPL after getting promoted to it last season demolishing Championship competition.

A familiar face is expected to return to SJP in striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, and a less-familiar-but-equally-threatening one in that of coach Marco Silva will be managing a quite surprising squad from the sideline.

Howe took to the microphones and addressed the most pressing questions by the media ahead of the matchup against Fulham to be played at home at SJP on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Of course, the first questions were related to Joelinton after his arrest on Thursday by the Northumbria Police charged with DUI. Asked about Joelinton’s chances of featuring for Newcastle on Sunday, Howe had some words to say:

“I’m going to have to reflect and analyse on that.”

“I’ll make a decision closer to the game, in consultation with him. I’m not 100 per cent sure.

Howe expanded on the ongoing situation and its possible psychological impact on the Brazilian player going forward.

“It came very much as a shock. Difficult situation.”

“Joelinton was very upset yesterday and I think he knows the seriousness of the situation.”

“Obviously I can’t say too much out of respect for the case but I think he understands his responsibilities.”

“We’re in a position now where we are supporting him but we also understand the seriousness of the situation.”

“Everything will be dealt with internally. Looking at Joelinton as a person, he’s a very good professional and he’s hugely passionate about his career and the club.”

“I was very much surprised by what happened. But we will support him and also educate him at this moment. He’s very young and everyone makes mistakes.

About the Carabao Cup draw results yielding a semi-finals matchup against Premier League bottom-dwellers Southampton...

“It’s a tough game but we’re pleased to be in it.”

“A two-game semi-final (that) we’re looking forward to.”

“It’s on the horizon for us, [qualifying for it] has given us a lot of positivity. But our focus turns to the Premier League.”

And about reaching a League Cup semi-final for the first time since 1976...

“[Reaching] the semi-final is one thing, (but) we’re greedy.”

“When you’re in the semi-final, you want to go that step further so that’s what we’re focused on.”

“We’re not praising ourselves—we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”

Moving on to this weekend game against Fulham at St James’ Park and asked about the availability and fitness of forwards Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak...

“Of course [Wilson and Isak] could be on the pitch together.”

“I have to evaluate every game and situation and try to balance the fact you want two attackers on the pitch.”

“(They are) two outstanding players in their own right.”

“The other day I decided to replace Callum because of his bad illness.”

“Alex [Isak] has responded very well. He’s trained well this week. He’s done all the work, looked in good condition, looks confidence and wants to be involved.”

“We have to be very careful with Isak because of the length of time he was out and the type of injury he had.”

About Fulham’s current form, with the Cottagers sitting sixth in the Premier League...

“[Fulham are] very much in good form.”

“Marco [Silva] has done a very, very good job.”

“I’m very impressed with their style of play. They’re not getting results in any other way than being a cohesive team unit.”

“It will be a good test of our defensive capabilities.”

Speaking about Big Dan Burn...

“The way [Burn] conducts himself on a daily basis, he’s a true inspiration to us.”

“He’s Newcastle through and through. You can sense that and that’s an added bonus that we’ve got since he’s come here.”

Touching on transfer storylines, Howe was asked about the potential departure of a goalie after the return of Martin Dubravka from Manchester United, where he was on loan through the first half of the season...

“I don’t know if they have to leave but we’ll wait and see what happens.”

“It’s probably a lot of goalkeepers to have and the key thing is you want every member of the squad to feel valued.”

“That obviously isn’t the case for some of them and we’ll try help.”

About arrivals in the January transfer window...

“We’re not imminently close to signing anybody.”

“We’re working hard at the moment [and] staying in contact with the market, looking at players, and doing a lot of work.”

“We’re not actively bidding for players at the moment. It’s a watching brief currently.”

On Garang Kuol’s getting loaned out to play with Scottish Premiership side Hearts...

“Hearts was his choice and we very much respected that. It’s very much a personal choice (made by Kuol).”

“We can advise and give an opinion but ultimately it is down to the player himself when he meets the players, coaches and the club.”

On top of that, Howe ruled out interest in Manchester United’s midfielder Scott McTominay, saying that the rumors about any interest are “not true” now nor in the past.

The coach also said that he “is not looking to sell (players) either” in relation to the probable arrivals through the winter transfer window.

After a bouncy run of results from New Year’s Eve on including two draws in a row, a loss, and a win, Newcastle will be looking forward to string their second consecutive victory having put Leicester to sleep in their most recent game.

Newcastle will take the field on Sunday already knowing the result of the Mancunian Derby with both times sandwiching the Magpies in the table and United looking at overtaking them for a day at the very least if they can bet the Citizens at Old Trafford.

Tottenham could also leapfrog Newcastle with a win but they’d need the Magpies to drop their game against Fulham on Sunday, though, with a draw favoring NUFC in the even of a 36-point-all tie with the Spurs in the table by the end of the weekend.

  • Date: Sunday, January 15th
  • Kick-off: 14:00 BST / 9:00 EST / 7:00 PST
  • Location: St James’ Park, Newcastle (England)
  • Broadcasts: Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet World, Sportsnet Now, Sportsnet Now Plus (CAN) — Peacock (USA) — Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, SKY GO Extra, Sky Ultra HD (UK)

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