NEWCASTLE UNITED'S preparations for Sunday's season-opener with Arsenal have received a major boost after Matt Ritchie was passed fit to line up against the Gunners.

Ritchie suffered a hamstring injury in the pre-season victory at Hibernian, and was forced to sit out last weekend's final friendly against St Etienne.

It had been feared he would be unavailable for this weekend's Premier League opener, but he was able to train with the rest of Steve Bruce's first-team squad this morning.

As a result, he is available for selection against Arsenal and is expected to start in the left wing-back role.

DeAndre Yedlin misses out on the opposite flank, and with Emil Krafth only having completed his £5m move from Amiens yesterday, Javier Manquillo is set to fill the right wing-back berth.