Newcastle could be turning a corner under Steve Bruce following recent wins over Manchester United and West Ham, while last weekend’s 3-2 success over the Hammers was also the first time they have scored more than a goal in a single match this season.
The Magpies are also unbeaten in their last four home games, but they will once again have to do without Swiss international Schar, who is not quite ready to return from a knee injury, while Bruce also confirmed at his pre-match press conference on Friday that versatile winger Ritchie has suffered a setback in his return from an ankle issue.
“Matt Ritchie and Fabian Schär haven’t made it,” Bruce told reporters.
“Unfortunately, they’ve still got a bit to do. We still don’t think it’s that bad with Fab and Matt is a bit of a concern because he was going along so well. He had a reaction to training so we’ve given him a bit of time off and come off his ankle to see how that does.”
The news is more positive on defender Florian Lejeune, who featured for 70 minutes of a reserve match earlier this week as he continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee issue, although Saturday’s match will come too soon for the Frenchman.
Bournemouth secured their first victory since September by beating Manchester United last weekend, while they have also won on two of their last three visits to St James’ Park.
Boss Eddie Howe has also been boosted by the news that midfielder Dan Gosling could feature for the first time this season against his former club, as he has now recovered from a long-term hip problem.
“He’s trained this week and has trained well. We’re really pleased with his progress,” Howe confirmed. “He adds that experience and positivity to the group, and he’s trained for the last couple of weeks now.”
Gosling’s impending return could be a timely one as Jefferson Lerma misses out through suspension after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out.
David Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Junior Stanislas and Andrew Surman all remain long-term absentees for the Cherries.