NEWCASTLE UNITED are nervously awaiting an update on Martin Dubravka’s illness situation after the goalkeeper was forced to miss a second successive international outing with Slovakia.

Dubravka is struggling with a stomach complaint, and while it is hoped he will receive a clean bill of health in the next few days, his participation in Sunday’s crucial Premier League home game with Tottenham is in doubt.

The shot-stopper was absent from Slovakia’s weekend draw with Malta, with his national manager, Stefan Tarkovic, revealing after the game that he was suffering from stomach pain.

It had been anticipated that he would return for his national side’s World Cup qualifier with Russia on Tuesday, but instead he was once again omitted from the squad as his compatriots claimed a 2-1 win in Trnava.

The fact he did not even feature on the substitutes’ bench is a cause for concern, and Newcastle’s medical staff will conduct a thorough examination of his situation within the next 24 hours.

Dubravka is understood to have told those around him that he is hopeful of being available on Sunday, but Steve Bruce will not want to take any risks given the importance of his side’s game against Spurs.

While Karl Darlow would step in to replace Dubravka if required, the number two is unlikely to be in an ideal mental state given the controversial way in which he was dropped at the end of February.

It has been claimed that Darlow learned he was being demoted to the bench for the home game against Wolves via a newspaper report before actually receiving the information at first hand from Bruce.

Darlow’s form prior to his demotion had been shaky, with the game before he was dropped seeing him beaten at his near post by Marcus Rashford in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Bruce’s team selection for Sunday’s meeting with Spurs will be heavily influenced by the fitness levels of Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron.

Almiron is regarded as an almost-certain starter, with the Paraguayan having made his comeback from injury in the 3-0 defeat at Brighton that preceded the international break. Almiron looked rusty at the Amex Stadium, but has used the last fortnight to build up his match fitness to much closer to its usual levels.

Wilson has been sidelined since suffering a serious hamstring injury in February’s 3-2 win over Southampton, but the striker has stepped up his training this week.

Bruce is determined to remain cautious with his side’s leading scorer, who put in some recovery work at a rehabilitation camp in Bournemouth before returning to Tyneside to link back up with Newcastle’s medical staff at the club’s Little Benton training ground.

Wilson was pictured training with fitness coach Cristian Fernandez last week, and posted an update on social media earlier this week in which he said he “can’t wait to get back out there” and included an emoji of an hourglass with sand running through it.

It is thought likely that he will be back in the squad at the weekend, although at this stage, his availability for the starting XI remains in the balance.

The same is true of Saint-Maximin, who has spent most of the international break training away from Newcastle’s main first-team group. The Frenchman's groin injury has been attributed, at least in part, to the lingering after-effects of the Covid infection that sidelined him for two months earlier in the season.