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Hiddink hopeful for striker action

Diego Costa will join what Guus Hiddink describes as his ‘Zorro team’ due to a broken nose the striker suffered in training yesterday (Thursday).

The injury means another member of the squad will wear a protective mask, joining Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic and Cesar Azpilicueta who have done so this season, and seven others over the past decade.

With Kurt Zouma’s long-term lay-off announced earlier in the week, the Diego Costa news was the only fresh injury reported by Hiddink in his Friday afternoon media conference, although the manager hopes his centre-forward will be available to face Newcastle in tomorrow’s game.

He explained how the injury occurred.

‘It was not a tough duel but he put his nose on the back of the head of one of the youngsters from the Academy that we like to participate in our training games. He was very unlucky.

‘They are putting a mask on Diego as well, we are the team with a lot of masks, a Zorro team, and he will come back do some light training this afternoon as he must experience how he is dealing with the form and the fitting of the mask.

‘I think he will be available but we must see how he reacts in the light session. I hope, I am not sure, but I think he might be available.’

Falcao is continuing to work back to full fitness, he is not yet training with the squad, but despite newspaper stories linking the Colombian with a move to China where the transfer window is yet to close, Hiddink is expecting his squad to remain unchanged for the rest of the season. That includes the addition of Pato and Matt Miazga but not for this weekend’s game.

‘They are now at the end of the second week of their “pre-season”, both are doing well,’ Hiddink told reporters. ‘They are training with us and with extra programmes. Next weekend we will see how their fitness is.’

Saturday’s game is followed three days later by the resumption of our Champions League campaign in Paris but that will not have a major impact on this weekend’s team selection.

‘Newcastle have improved their squad with good substance, they made some good signings and they are more competitive now than they were in the previous time,’ reckons our manager.

‘We take this game seriously because we want to head up the table. We have to bear in mind that next week [for the Champions League first leg] we have a suspension to Nemanja Matic so we might have a little option for change, but after the Newcaslte game we will see about Tuesday.’ 

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