Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope injury latest from Newcastle boss Eddie Howe | Football

Kieran Trippier has been out with a calf problem (Picture: Shutterstock)

Eddie Howe was non-committal on whether Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope will be involved for Newcastle against Brighton on Saturday, but said both are nearing full fitness.

Trippier has been out for two months with a calf injury while Pope has not played since December due to a serious shoulder problem.

The goalkeeper did return to the bench for the win over Burnley last week, though, suggesting he is very close to a recall to the starting XI.

Pope is hoping to prove his fitness in time to make a late bid for England’s Euro 2024 squad, but despite naming him on the bench last week, Howe suggested the 32-year-old still had work to do.

Martin Dubravka has deputised well for Pope in his absence and is battling to keep hold of the gloves.

‘I think if both keepers were 100 per cent fit that is a very difficult call,’ said the Magpies boss on who will play in goal this weekend.

‘Nick is still building his robustness. Last week was very clear. Martin [Dubravka] deserved to play and Nick is still finding his rhythm. Nick is in a good place and building his strength back up.’

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League

Nick Pope has not played since December due to a shoulder injury (Picture: Getty Images)

Trippier is also hoping to show he is ready to play for Gareth Southgate this summer and has returned to full training, but Howe said a decision was not yet made when he spoke at a press conference on Friday morning.

‘He’s getting closer. He’s trained this week for the first time with the group which is brilliant,’ Howe said of the full-back. ‘You can see the strength of the group returning with key figures back. He trained well, it’s been a good week for him and we’ll make a decision on him today.’

One player Howe did rule out is Fabian Schar, who continues to struggle with a thigh problem.

‘I don’t think he’ll figure tomorrow,’ said the manager. ‘Let’s wait and see about next week. He’s certainly improving and feeling good.’

Long-term absentees Sven Botman, Jamaal Lascelles, Joe Willock and Lewis Miley all remain out.

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