STEVE BRUCE expects to have Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey available for Newcastle United’s home game with Premier League leaders Liverpool on Wednesday, with the Magpies’ Covid problems finally starting to show signs of beginning to clear.

Wilson was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Manchester City, with Bruce opting to rest his side’s leading goalscorer rather than risk worsening an ankle issue that was sustained in last week’s Carabao Cup defeat at Brentford.

Shelvey is understood to have been showing signs of fatigue in the wake of his sub-standard display at Brentford’s Community Stadium, and while he was not involved in the squad that travelled to the Etihad on Boxing Day, he should return to the fold for Wednesday’s meeting with Liverpool.

Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin remain the two long-term Covid victims, although the former was at the training ground last week and has begun to take part in some light sessions.

“We’ve had an awful time in the last couple of weeks with trying to muddle through and get through,” said Bruce. “We’ve had an awful outbreak of an illness that none of us know much about. The one thing it has done is left a lot of them fatigued. We’ve been a bit mix and match but thankfully it looks like a few of them are coming through it and getting better.”

Matty Longstaff made his first start of the season at the weekend, and Bruce was pleased with the youngster’s performance despite his side’s defeat.

“He gave a performance which reminded me of why I put him in the team last year,” he said. “He’s had a really difficult time in terms of a thigh injury that he couldn’t shake off. He probably broke down two or three times with it. He’s not been right in himself, and lost a lot of weight in lockdown, for whatever reason. Thankfully, he’s got that back, and reminded us of what a good player he is.”