Moussa Sissoko is “touch and go” to make his Newcastle United return against Arsenal this weekend.
The 26-year-old was subbed with a groin strain in the defeat at Swansea City and subsequently missed the goalless draw at Old Trafford and last night’s 4-1 win over Northampton Town in the Capital One Cup.
It’s touch and go, but it would be nice to get him back, and also Daryl (Janmaat) is back, so we started the week well, continued it and we have a pretty big game on Saturday now.”
But he could make his return on Saturday when Arsene Wenger’s Gunners visit St James’s Park for the lunchtime kick-off.
McClaren’s options have been given a further boost with the return of Dutch full-back Daryl Janmaat after completing his one-match suspension.
He was straight back into the side against Northampton and impressed, scoring the third goal in the 4-1 win.
McClaren is hoping he will be joined in the squad by Sissoko, who has been back training.
“Yes (Sissoko has a chance),” said McClaren.
“He has been out on the grass, so we will take it a day at a time.
“It’s touch and go, but it would be nice to get him back, and also Daryl (Janmaat) is back, so we started the week well, continued it and we have a pretty big game on Saturday now.”
Another positive for McClaren was the performance of Dutch playmaker Siem de Jong – starting his first game in over a year.
He got on the scoresheet and could easily have had two more before half-time.
McClaren added: “You see the quality that he’s got. Once you get the ball to him in that space, in that area, he can pick runners and players with a great pass.
“He could have scored more goals as well – he was penetrating into the box – so you saw a little bit of the old Siem de Jong.”
Victory over League Two Northampton was McClaren’s first win in charge of Newcastle at the fourth attempt since taking over as head coach in the summer.
He admitted he was pleased to see his side negotiate a potentially “tricky” tie with such professionalism.
Florian Thauvin’s first goal for the club gave Newcastle the perfect start, with de Jong doubling the lead shortly afterwards.
The Cobblers pegged Newcastle back from the penalty spot before two more goals after the break from Janmaat and Mike Williamson sealed a safe progression.
McClaren said: “We started well, they pegged a goal back, there were one or two hairy moments, it should have been three or four more by half-time.
“Second half, we were very good, controlled the game. ”