STEVE BRUCE has admitted Matty Longstaff’s ongoing injury issues are proving a major “concern”, with the youngster still no closer to making a first-team return.

The younger of the two Longstaff brothers has not been involved at all since signing a new deal in the summer that kept him at St James’ Park.

He was struggling with a thigh injury towards the end of last season, and while he recovered sufficiently to play some part in Newcastle’s pre-season programme, a recurrence of the issue has set him back.

He has not trained at all in the last week, with Newcastle’s medical staff preaching caution as they attempt to get to the bottom of the problem.

Bruce said: “I have to say that the one that is concerning us all at the moment is young Matty Longstaff. Unfortunately, his is a soft-tissue injury, and it’s proving very problematic.

“We hope we can make a breakthrough with that. We have just come off and shut him down for the last ten days or two weeks. Let’s hope there’s a bit of improvement with young Matty.”