Eddie Howe hopeful Allan Saint-Maximin will be fit after international break

Allan Saint-Maximin was struggling against Forest (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)
Allan Saint-Maximin was struggling against Forest (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe hopes Allan Saint-Maximin will not be joining Miguel Almiron on the sidelines.

Almiron has been ruled out for six weeks with a thigh injury and fears were heightened when Saint-Maximin was taken off at half-time during the Magpies’ 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Howe says he took the forward off to protect him and that he hopes he will be fit, along with Callum Wilson, after the international break.

“Allan wasn’t quite right today, physically, I didn’t think,” he said. “He’s been carrying a tight hamstring. I don’t think it’s a pull, it’s just a little bit of tightness.

“For me, it was obvious during that first half that he probably wouldn’t be able to carry on.

“I didn’t want to expose Callum today, he hasn’t done a lot of training, so I decided to go with Elliot (Anderson) and he repaid me, he did really well.

“Hopefully, we’ll have Callum and Maxi fit and available after the international break.”

Alexander Isak starred for Newcastle, with both goals at the City Ground.

Emmanuel Dennis had put Forest ahead but Isak levelled on the stroke of half-time with an accomplished volley and then he won it deep into injury time when he scored from the spot to make it three goals in two games.

“Confidence is key for any attacking player and the penalty was ice cool,” he said. “It was a huge moment for us in our season.

“It’s not easy to do that, especially with the delay. But he put it away really well, first goal as well. It was a slightly unorthodox finish.”

Newcastle won the penalty after the ball struck Moussa Niakhate’s outstretched arm, which marred the defender’s first start since August.

The centre-half was visibly distraught after the incident and boss Steve Cooper says his squad, whose relegation fears were worsened after defeat, will stick together.

“He’ll be disappointed. There is no individual blame, I believe in that,” the head coach said.

“Whatever the results and performance we have to do it as one with togetherness. In the end that is what makes you stronger longer term. All players will make mistakes, but the most important thing is we stick together.

“We are all disappointed and let’s not make it about one individual.”