The five key quotes from Steve Bruce's pre-West Bromwich Albion press conference
(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

After a COVID-19 outbreak at Newcastle United's Benton training ground, The Magpies return to Premier League action tomorrow afternoon against West Brom for the first time in over two weeks after their scheduled game Aston Villa last Friday was postponed.

Head coach Steve Bruce will be eyeing this game in particular for three points, as they are facing an Albion side who have only won one league game since their return to the top flight this season.

The media briefing was dominated by questions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, with questions surrounding who can and cannot play in tomorrow's game being the most popular topic.

Here are the most important responses the Newcastle boss made to the media in his pre-match press conference this morning:

On not being able to train properly

Newcastle have been unable to train as a squad since prior to the Crystal Palace victory over two weeks ago after Public Health England ordered the shutdown of the Benton training facility after a rise in coronavirus cases.

"I have to say a big well done to the medical team at the training ground - but their actions to shut us down has been difficult.

"We were away from the training ground since Crystal Palace.

"If you had asked me last Monday I wouldn't have thought this game would be back on.

"Everybody has been tested twice and tested negative."

On returning to the training ground

Bruce hopes that the club have 'curtailed' the virus, but did say that he has some players still self isolating at home.

"We've been able to re-open the training ground.

"People have been tested twice and come back negative.

"We've got enough to hopefully win us the match.

"We hope we've curtailed it - it certainly looks that way. We still have some individuals self isolating."

An update on the squad

The Toon boss did say that he will be able to field a side, but did confirm that he will have players out due to the outbreak tomorrow.

“We’ve got 11 for tomorrow, but we’ve got a lot more available than I thought we’d have if you’d asked me last Monday.

"One or two have now tested negative but have had it bad and are still fatigued."

The players 'bounced' into training on Wednesday

Bruce stated that whilst players were unable to train in person, they were given 'individual programmes' by the clubs fitness coaches to ensure they are fully fit and prepared the upcoming game against West Brom.

Bruce also said that the players 'bounced' into training on their return to the Benton complex on Wednesday.

"They've had their own individual programmes similar to when we went into lockdown.

"The fitness coach has been able to monitor them.

We were back to full training on Wednesday and all of them bounced in having not played or trained - they enjoyed being back."

Bruce remains tight-lipped on who can and cannot play

The Newcastle head coach did not budge on his stance of not naming the players and staff who have tested positive for the virus out of 'respect' for them - but did say that it is a 'significant number' that will be unavailable to face Slaven Bilic's side tomorrow.

Bruce also praised the club for the way they have dealt with the situation, after he announced that two of his staff members have seemingly been hit hard by the virus.

"I have to respect the players and the staff and their wishes.

"You have to respect their wishes.

"It was a significant number and we will be without a big chunk of players.

"I have two members of staff who have been sick with it.

"The club has done everything they can to look after the welfare of the players.

"I feel like a doctor this week, not a football manager!"

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