EDDIE HOWE will not be in the dugout at St James’ Park tomorrow afternoon after he tested positive for Covid yesterday.

Having been appointed as Newcastle United’s head coach at the start of the international break, Howe was due to preside over his first match in charge of the club when Brentford visit Tyneside tomorrow.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, the former Bournemouth boss recorded a positive result during a routine Covid testing session today.

As a result, he will have to self-isolate in line with Government guidance, meaning he will not be present at St James’.

Instead, Newcastle will be under the caretaker control of assistant head coaches Jason Tindall and Graeme Jones as they look to record their first win of the season.

“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be there with you all at St James’ Park (today), but it is incredibly important that I follow the guidelines and self-isolate,” said Howe, who had conducted a pre-match press conference over Zoom this morning before news of his positive test broke at around 7pm.

“I’d like to reassure everyone that I feel fine, and while this is unwelcome news for me, I know it hasn’t derailed our preparations for what is an important game.

“I have been, and will be, in constant communication with my coaching team and the players, both tomorrow and during the week, and I know they will be giving everything on and off the pitch.”

At this stage, it is not clear what involvement Howe will be able to have with next week’s training schedule, or with Newcastle’s next two matches at Arsenal, a week today, and at home to Norwich City, three days later.

It is clearly not the way Howe would have wanted to start his Tyneside tenure, and there will be inevitable fears that his close contact to players on the training ground could result in positive tests from within the playing squad.

At this stage, however, it is not thought that any squad members are unavailable for tomorrow’s game because of Covid-related issues.

Jones was in temporary charge for Newcastle’s last three matches, draws against Crystal Palace and Brighton and a defeat to Chelsea, and the assistant should be able to step into the breach alongside Tindall without too much disruption.