By Rebecca Johnson, PA
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is hopeful he can replace the outgoing Chris Wood, warning that the striker’s move could leave the team “dangerously short of players”.
Howe confirmed that Wood is having a medical with Nottingham Forest, with Forest looking to bring the New Zealand international in on loan.
Wood joined the Magpies last January from Burnley for £25million, helping the club avoid relegation and Howe was full of praise for the forward’s contributions.
“He’s been a huge player for us,” Howe said.
“I have to say he has been outstanding in every way because I think when we signed him we were in a very difficult league position, he’s played a huge part on the pitch to transform the team or help transform the team.
“Then this season he’s been excellent both on and off the pitch in terms of his leadership and positivity and when he’s not played, so you can’t underestimate the role he’s played.
“It was a difficult decision, taking into account the player and his wishes, but also I think it’s a good deal financially for the football club.”
Wood’s likely departure will leave Newcastle with Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson as their forward options and Howe stressed a new addition in the January transfer window must be “the right player”.
He added: “[We’re] hopefully planning to replace him, certainly from my side there was no thought of letting a player go and not replacing because I think that would leave us dangerously short of players, but there’s no guarantees.
“I don’t think we’ll necessarily replace Chris with another Chris, if that makes sense.
“We’re not necessarily looking for that type of player in the market, but we’ll see what we can do with 11 days to go. It’s not long, but it’s got to be the right player, that’s always so important in any transfer deal we look to do.
“We would have targets we would pursue for sure and we’ll see how we go. I think it’s important not just to have one, we have a pool of players that we like.”
Newcastle face Crystal Palace on Saturday, a side they drew 0-0 with in September and beat 3-2 on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
Howe revealed that Bruno Guimaraes has had a scan on the ankle injury he picked up against Fulham on Sunday and is “making good progress”, but is unsure when the Brazilian will return.
Palace snatched a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in midweek thanks to a fantastic late free-kick from Michael Olise and Howe stressed Newcastle will not underestimate the challenges Palace present.
“They’re a very good team, I think the two games we’ve had against them were very tight,” he said.
“Although we probably had the better chances in the league game which we didn’t take, it was still a tight game and the Carabao Cup game could’ve gone either way.
“Now we travel to their ground and that’s always a tough place to go, it’ll be a good atmosphere.
“We obviously go there in good form, but we don’t underestimate the challenge – Patrick’s a very good manager and they’ve got some very dangerous players.”