Don't underestimate the coronavirus, says Newcastle manager Steve Bruce
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Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has reminded people not to underestimate the impact of Covid-19.
Bruce's squad has been hampered by coronavirus infections over the last few weeks, although the tide now looks to be turning. Over the last seven days, there were no new positive cases of Covid-19 in the Newcastle squad.
That didn't stop Steve Bruce from reminding people not to underestimate the virus, however.
During today's press conference, Bruce said: "If you ever under-estimate this thing, don't. There are two players it is having a bad effect on, and these are elite athletes."
Across the UK, 1.87 million people have been infected with coronavirus. It has led to over 64,000 deaths.
Newcastle recently returned to their training ground after it was closed due to a coronavirus outbreak. At the end of November, the training ground was closed after multiple positive Covid-19 test results were returned from those within the first-team bubble.
In total, five players and two members of staff tested positive for the coronavirus.
It led to Newcastle's game against Aston Villa being postponed - the first Premier League match since Project Restart to be cancelled until further notice.
Bruce's side are set to go up against Leeds United on Wednesday evening.
When asked about squad availability at today's press conference, Bruce said: "Fede Fernandez revealed himself he had the virus.
"I am looking at the three or four who played at the weekend. The one thing I am looking at is fatigue.
"With that in mind, I will look to make two or three changes."
Bruce was forced to play midfielder Isaac Hayden at centre-back in the win over West Brom, and the Newcastle boss admits he may need to turn to the former Arsenal man again for the clash with Leeds.
He said: "I thought the performance of Isaac was terrific. It gives me food for thought."