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NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has revealed Newcastle United have received a quadruple injury boost ahead of their Premier League return this weekend against Fulham.

The Magpies travel to Craven Cottage on Saturday to record just their second top win of the season – and will likely do so with four players classified as doubts in their ranks.

It’s fair to say that the international break has been fraught with worries and concerns for head coach Howe on the injury front, with strikers Alexander Isak and Chris Wood, as well as Bruno Guimaraes all being sent home early from national duty due to hitting.

Where Howe says the situation once seemed bleak, the prospect is now brightening with Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson and Guimaraes all fit to face the Cottagers. Allan Saint-Maximin, who has been missing since August, is also said to be close to a return to the squad, while Isak’s injury sustained while at Sweden is not considered serious.

“When the doctor called me I didn’t want to take his calls anymore,” Howe joked of United’s training base Benton on Friday.

“It’s been a stressful time for three or four days, but luckily it may not be as bad as it first seemed.”

Of Wilson, Howe said: “He’s been training with us for about 10 days now. He’s in a good place. Every time he comes back from an injury I would say he does the job and doesn’t cut corners. He worked for a long time in the sports science team and then trained with us. He looked good.

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“It will be a great boost for the players to have Callum in the group with his positive energy and laugh he brings. He’s a great player for us. And with Alex also picking up his injury, it was perfect timing for us.”

Guimaraes, who has missed two friendlies against Brazil in France in the past seven days with a hamstring problem, is also considered fit for action in south-west London.

“Bruno trained with us. I’ve had a couple of difficult calls during the international break to say different things happened to different players,” Howe said.

“We were worried about Bruno but he came back and the scan was good. He is trained and well trained. Obviously a bit disturbed for him because those two weeks have been really important to regain his training and match sharpness, but he’s doing fine physically. He’s in the squad.”

Saint-Maximin, United’s talisman, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since August’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

And while he’s yet to return to full training with the squad, Howe says Saint-Maximin has a chance.

“Yes, he’s fine,” he said when asked about the player.

“He’s been away for a while and he’s coming back. He’s close, very close. That’s how we see things.

“At the moment we have a lot of moving parts. I’m vague because there are a lot of player situations that are a bit unclear when we go into the game. Allan will be one of them.”

While Anderson also managed to shrug off a slight punch and will likely make it to the bench, two players who are unlikely to do so are Isak and Wood. But their troubles probably won’t keep them away for too long, according to Howe.

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Commenting on Isak’s record signing, Howe said: “He did injury training for Sweden so he came back. The scan doesn’t look too bad, so we’re not overly concerned that it’s a long injury, but with any muscle injury there’s always a brief period where you need to be cautious.

“He’s walking outside on grass so he’s looking good at the moment.

“Chris Wood got away with a rib problem. He took a hit in the game. This is another player that we will decide on very late.”

Meanwhile, the Magpies have completed their first signing of the January window, with highly-rated Aussie forward Garang Kuol penning pen.

And Howe admits he’s delighted to win the race for the player who has been courted by the likes of Barcelona.

United reportedly paid the Central Coast Mariners about $400,000 for the Southern Hemisphere star.

“I’m very excited,” Howe said of the deal.

“He’s a young player with huge potential. It’s a show from me and the club where we want to go to sign young players and try to develop them in our system so that they are Premier League players in the future. He’s had a dramatic rise and is in a position that everyone is excited about. Some patience must be shown.

“Touch Wood, we will take care of him, loan him out and develop him behind the scenes. Hopefully if he comes here he can play a role in our future.”

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The Egyptian-born teenager made his senior debut aged 17 in 2021 and rose to global prominence when he played a starring role as the 2022 A-League All Stars team faced Barcelona in front of more than 70,000 fans in Sydney earlier this year.

Kuol made his Australian debut against New Zealand during the recent international break.

After the move, Kuol said: “It’s unreal. As a young boy in Australia, the Premier League is the main thing everyone watches but nobody really believes he will reach those heights. To be one of those people, to be in the position that I am, is amazing.

“Now that I’ve signed for Newcastle I want to train hard, play hard, hopefully go to the World Cup and come back here.”

The United manager who was instrumental in securing the transfer, sporting director Dan Ashworth, explained the signing and the club’s new philosophy.

Ashworth said: “Garang is a very promising young talent and we are delighted that he will continue his development as a Newcastle United player.

“Our philosophy is to invest in our academy and in exciting young players for the future and in players who need to make an immediate impact in the first team.

“We wish Garang the best of luck in his remaining games with the Central Coast Mariners and hope to see him back on the international stage very soon.”