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‘Frank Lampard has impressed’ – Newcastle opposition view before Chelsea visit St James’ Park

Has Newcastle’s injury crisis eased up yet?

Slowly. Tuesday’s win against Rochdale was the first time in 2020 where Newcastle did not pick up any injuries during a game. Eight players limped off in the previous three matches and muscle injuries have plagued the squad in recent weeks.

But talisman Allan Saint-Maximin is back in contention and key dressing room figures like Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey have returned. Fabian Schar is also available but several players, including Javier Manquillo, Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle, will be out for a while yet and Andy Carroll is a doubt for tomorrow’s game.

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What’s the mood in the stands like at the minute? Bruce’s appointment did not seem the most exciting in the summer but it sounds like he has won plenty of people over?

With Mike Ashley watching on from the directors’ box at St James’ Park on Tuesday night, Steve Bruce had his name repeatedly chanted by the Gallowgate End during the win against Rochdale. Few would have imagined that happening not so long ago but I think it’s a little early to read too much into it.

As we have seen with the recent half-season ticket giveaway, there has been a change in the atmosphere at St James’ Park this season after many decided to stay away in protest against Mike Ashley’s ownership. Bruce has always maintained he is not everyone’s cup of tea and just wants to be judged on results so I think a lot of fans are willing to do that.

What have you made of Frank Lampard’s time in charge of Chelsea so far?

I know, initially, he could only work with what he had given Chelsea’s transfer ban but I’ve been impressed. Frank Lampard could have easily relied more on experienced heads like Olivier Giroud or Pedro but it is encouraging to see him stick by the club’s youngsters and instead look at how, tactically, he can affect games after a poor run, as…

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