EDDIE HOWE will not be ripping up his tactical template to try to accommodate Callum Wilson and Chris Wood in the same starting line-up – and admits he cannot currently see a scenario where the strike duo will play alongside each other for Newcastle United.

Wilson ended a four-and-a-half month injury absence when he came on as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s defeat at Manchester City, and having completed his recovery from a combination of calf and Achilles problems, the England international will be hoping to start at least one of Newcastle’s remaining fixtures against Arsenal and Burnley.

In his absence, Wood has established himself as the Magpies’ main centre-forward, and while he might have been the man to make way for Wilson at the Etihad, the New Zealander will not want to find himself shuffled to the sidelines on a regular basis now his fellow striker has returned.

In the past, the muscular Wood and more athletic Wilson would have been viewed as a classic ‘little-and-large’ combination, but you only have to look around the 20 teams in the Premier League to see the extent to which playing with two orthodox strikers alongside each other has gone out of fashion.

Howe has not played that way in any of his matches as Magpies manager, and while it might well mean one of Wilson or Wood missing out, he does not envisage changing tack.

“I’d say it’s not how we’re playing at the moment,” said Howe. “We’re playing in a different way to that – not with two strikers. I’m not saying it would be impossible, but I think it would maybe be difficult for us to incorporate both into the same team, and still produce a team that is strong enough off the ball to withstand that.

“I think a lot of the problems with two strikers, and why I wouldn’t say it’s gone out of the game, but it’s probably going out of the game, is because off the ball, you have big spaces. Your midfield and back four find themselves with huge spaces to defend.

“It’s not something I’d say that I’d never do, but it’s certainly not something that’s in my immediate plans to play that way.”

That is bad news for Wilson and Wood, who find themselves battling for the right to spearhead the Magpies attack. Wilson occasionally played in a wide attacking role under Steve Bruce – most notably during last season’s impressive win at Everton, when he scored both of Newcastle’s goals – but with the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron, Ryan Fraser and Jacob Murphy in the squad, that is not thought to be something Howe is considering.

Wilson’s goalscoring pedigree means he should re-establish himself as first choice once he is back to full match fitness, although while Wood has only scored two goals in 16 appearances since making a £25m switch from Burnley in January, Howe is adamant the 30-year-old’s impact should not be under-estimated.

“Chris has made a huge contribution,” he said. “I go back to the Leeds game, which was a turning point game for us, and I thought Chris was magnificent in every aspect, in terms of helping the team.

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“He’s someone that immediately grasped the tactical importance of the position. I would have regular meetings with him about what I wanted him to deliver tactically, and I would never have to tell him twice. Whatever I told him, straight away he would go and deliver it.

“I think that comes with his experience, and the various clubs that he’s played for. He enabled us to take the pressure off in certain situations – goal-kicks for us, for example. When we were in the position we were in, battling relegation, I wanted to make the game very simple for the players. I didn’t want it to be too complex, and Chris enabled us to do that. He really helped us in those situations.

“I just think his general, all-round leadership has been very good. He’s a vocal presence in the changing room, and a support if things aren’t going well. You can hear him vocally if things are going well, and he’s a galvaniser of those around him.

“He’s given the team a lot, and he has scored a couple of key goals for us as well. Let’s not forget those. I’m really pleased with him, and the impact he’s made.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has been nominated for the PFA x Vertu Motors Fans' Player of the Month award for April.

Guimaraes has been shortlisted alongside Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester United froward Cristiano Ronaldo, James Ward-Prowse of Southampton and Tottenham's Son Heung-min.