Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce

Alan Hutton has admitted the training ground shutdown at Newcastle United has been an “absolute nightmare” for manager Steve Bruce.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aston Villa and Scotland defender insisted he would be “very surprised” to see the Magpies’ game with West Brom go ahead after the latest update from Tyneside.

Newcastle confirmed on Tuesday morning that the players would be allowed to return to the training ground today after a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases at the club.

Newcastle saw their game against Aston Villa postponed due to the outbreak which saw several first-team players test positive.

As detailed by the Athletic, the squad have not trained together since November 26 but there is no news on whether Saturday’s scheduled game against West Brom will be pushed back.

Hutton admitted he finds it difficult to see the Baggies’ trip to St James’ Park taking place with so little time to prepare and bodies missing from the Magpies’ squad.

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Hutton told Football Insider: “Absolute nightmare, that just sums it up. I mean, struggling for bodies, what do you do?

“I know there’s protocols in place and you have to have a certain number within your squad that can’t play for the game to be postponed – I’d be very surprised if it (v West Brom) was on.

“I mean, it’s going to be very difficult for having all that time in isolation since your last game and then this is your first day of your training ground open – how can you be expected to go and play at such a high level?

“I think it’s going to be very difficult but look, this is the times that we’re in, everybody’s going through it, it just happens they’ve caught it worse than most. The main thing is everybody gets fit and healthy again and then get back to playing the games.”

Newcastle’s last game saw Bruce’s men seal a 2-0 win away at Crystal Palace at the end of November.

In other news, a Newcastle United midfielder has been backed to leave the club in January.