By Nick Ware

21st Jan, 2021 | 5:44pm

Newcastle handed big team news boost ahead of clash v Leeds

Leeds United may be the unlucky victims of Allan Saint-Maximin’s return for Newcastle United with Steve Bruce revealing he is back in training.

Saint-Maximin has missed Newcastle’s last 11 games after suffering long-term effects from covid-19, something the club had big issues with as a whole after an outbreak caused their training ground to close in early December.

The Magpies have struggled enormously in his absence and have not won since December 12, and they will go into Tuesday’s fixture with even less confidence than their visitors who are on a poor run of form themselves.

As quoted by LeedsLive, Newcastle boss Bruce has acknowledged Saint-Maximin’s return but has urged caution, saying: “He’s back in light training.

“We hope that he can get himself [fit], but it’s been two months now. We’ve still got to box a bit careful with him.”

Newcastle play Aston Villa on Saturday evening which could represent the 23-year-old’s first minutes since a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea on November 21, and he will hope to prove himself fit enough for a start agains the Whites on Tuesday.

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Leaky Leeds

News of Saint-Maximin’s potential return will be a concern for Leeds’ porous defence.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have conceded seven goals in their last three games with four of them coming against League Two Crawley Town and Premier League strugglers Brighton.

A fixture against Newcastle looks like being the perfect remedy to these problems with the Magpies failing to score in their last three games while they have only managed a single goal in their last seven (v Leicester City on January 3).

However, Saint-Maximin represents their most dangerous attacker and his pace and trickery will represent a tough task for a defence low on confidence, even considering his long absence.

Per WyScout the French winger completes 9.12 dribbles per 90 this season which ranks him third in the Premier League while he also gets fouled the third most times in the Premier League on average, at 3.09 per 90.

If he does line up against Leeds on Tuesday, either from the start or off the bench, then the Whites defence will have to be on their toes and prepared for Saint-Maximin bidding to make up for lost time.

In other Leeds United news, see our exclusive interview with Paul Robinson on Helder Costa’s recent troubles.