STEVE BRUCE admits he cannot believe the scale of Newcastle United’s ongoing injury crisis, but is relieved to be able to call on Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles for tomorrow’s FA Cup third-round replay against Rochdale.

Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle and Joelinton will all miss tomorrow’s game after suffering injuries in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Wolves, with the trio having joined an ever-expanding absentee list.

The likes of Javier Manquillo, DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey and Allan Saint-Maximin are already ruled out, but Bruce can at least call on Ritchie and Lascelles as he looks to set up a fourth-round tie against Oxford United.

Ritchie was an unused substitute at Molineux but will start against Rochdale, while Lascelles trained successfully at the end of last week and will make his first appearance since November’s home win over Bournemouth.

“I’ve never known anything like it, it’ll be a case of rounding up who we’ve got available and seeing what we can do, but at least we should have a couple coming back,” said Bruce, after Miguel Almiron’s first-half strike helped secure the point that kept Newcastle in 13th place in the table.

“I couldn’t risk Ritchie (at Wolves) because he’s just come back. He played half-an-hour (against Rochdale at Spotland), but trained all week so always, in our mind, was Tuesday.

“That’s one on the team sheet for Tuesday but he’s been out for four months so we’ve got to make sure he’s right. We think Jamaal will be back for Tuesday too, so that will help.”

While Newcastle’s injury problems continue to mount, Bruce is adamant he will not be making any kneejerk reactions in the transfer market in the next few weeks. The Magpies continue to be linked with a possible move for veteran Brighton forward Glenn Murray, and have also been credited with an interest in Le Havre’s €18m-rated striker Tino Kadewere, but Bruce will not be rushing to try to push through a deal just because he is missing a host of players.

“We’ve got 25 players in the squad, and I’ve got two more who are not in it in (Henri) Saivet and (Jack) Colback, so if I bring anybody in, I’ll have to leave someone else out of the squad,” said Bruce, who ruled out any chance of Gayle leaving this month. “We’ve got 25 players and, as I’ve said from day one, I will not just bring in players who will not make us any better.

“Injury crisis or not, I will not see people coming because we’ve got ten to 12 players injured. Who knows, in two or three weeks, we might have them all back, then what do you do with the ones you bring in that are not better than what you’ve got? That’s always my policy.”