Keeper Elliot in fitness boost ahead of Newcastle’s Bournemouth crunch

Rob Elliot
Rob Elliot

Newcastle United keeper Rob Elliot is winning his battle to be fit for Saturday’s game against Bournemouth.

The Magpies had been ready to ask the Premier League for permission to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency loan, after Elliot aggravated a thigh problem in last weekend’s goalless draw against Stoke City.

Head coach Steve McClaren – who is without injured keepers Tim Krul and Karl Darlow – said he “feared the worst” after the match.

Teenager Freddie Woodman was put on standby to play at the Goldsands Stadium, while the club also looked into the possibility of an emergency loan, with Manchester United’s Victor Valdes having been one option.

However, the league would only grant permission if Elliot was unable to play, and the 29-year-old’s thigh – he struggled to kick with his favoured left foot in the second half against Stoke – is understood to have improved over the past few days.

And McClaren will make a late decision on his goalkeeper for the Bournemouth match.

Newcastle’s assistant coach Paul Simpson said: “There is no point me speculating as to what we might and might not do if there is a problem.

“Let’s wait and see what happens with Robbie.

“If he is OK, then we will go ahead with him for the Bournemouth game at the weekend. If he’s not, we have to have a think about what our options might be.”

While the club is keeping its options open, time is running out for Newcastle to go to the league and ask for an emergency loan.

And if Elliot fails a late fitness test, it is likely that Woodman, son of former goalkeeping coach Andy, will play against Bournemouth.

Woodman – recalled from a loan spell at Crawley last month after Krul suffered a season-ending knee injury – is yet to make a competitive senior appearance for United.

Meanwhile, Darlow is expected to return to training from an ankle problem later this month, possibly in time for the home game against Leicester on November 21.