If somebody had told you on the day that Steve Bruce was appointed Newcastle United manager that the Magpies would be just two points from fifth after 16 matches this season, you would have been well within your right to laugh in their face.
No offence to the boss, but confidence in him was low at best, and this Toon side hardly looked like world beaters last season, even with a Champions League winner like Rafa Benitez at the helm.
But fast forward a few weeks, and here we are.
Granted, the Premier League is so higgledy-piggledy that there are a lot of teams within touching distance of a European spot, but nonetheless, this is an achievement to be lauded, especially when you consider the fact that the Magpies go into their clash against Burnley off the back of a three game unbeaten run in the league.
But continuing that rich vein of form could well be made a lot more difficult after it emerged that Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron are both doubtful for the Toon Army, as per Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie.
That could be a major blow for United.
With Allan Saint-Maximin already sidelined, the last thing the Magpies need is to lose anymore creativity going into their meeting with the Clarets.
Shelvey in particular has been in fine form of late, hitting three goals in his last three games and posting an average Whoscored rating of 7.17 for the season.
One or both could still make it, but if not, don’t be surprised to see a very flat attacking display from Bruce’s boys.
This article was originally posted here