JOELINTON is set to return to Newcastle United’s starting line-up when they face Crystal Palace tomorrow – but Sven Botman and Alexander Isak remain major injury doubts.

Joelinton has been struggling with a hamstring injury, and after sitting out the 2-2 draw with West Ham United that preceded the international break, the Brazilian was not part of his national squad in the last two weeks.

He has returned to full training at Darsley Park though, and is expected to return to Newcastle’s starting side against Palace.


Botman has also stepped up his training in the last fortnight, but he is not yet up to full speed and remains a doubtful participant at the weekend. The same is true of Isak, who suffered a leg injury at West Ham and was subsequently withdrawn from international duty with Sweden.

Howe said: “I hope he (Joelinton) will be back. He’s trained well and looked good. He’s done a lot of work, so I’m confident, as I sit here now, that he’s going to be okay, and hopefully he will return to the form we know he can produce. He’s a huge player for us.

“We had a few injuries (before the break), and not everything has cleared up and is in perfect order, although we do look a bit better.

“Alex hasn’t trained with us yet, so he’s going to leave it late to see if he’s fit and available. Sven? He’s improving. The two weeks have been good for him.”

Joe Willock will not be considered for selection at the weekend, but the midfielder has joined in first-team training this week and is closing in on a return after being sidelined since pre-season.

Howe said: “I want Joe back. We have to do it sensibly, but he’s trained this week for the first time, back with the group. It’s probably a bit early for him to be involved in the matchday squad, but he’s getting closer and he’s a huge player for us.”