Kieran Trippier on brink of Newcastle United return as surprise Fabian Schar update offered

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe will hand Kieran Trippier a late fitness test ahead of the Magpies' crunch home game against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Howe's side can strengthen their grip on a top six place and keep dreams alive in both the Europa League and Europa Conference League for next term. England right-back Trippier has not featured since the 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers back in February at St James' Park.

Howe would be facing a tough decision if calf victim Trippier is passed fit with Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall now settled in the full-back areas. When asked about Trippier, Howe, speaking at his pre-game press conference, said: "He's getting closer and he's trained this week, for the first time with the group. We are really pleased, he trained well and we will make a decision today in terms of whether he is involved tomorrow.

READ MORE: Eddie Howe's pre-match Press conference for the crunch clash against Brighton & Hove Albion

"He is desperate to be involved and he has been contribute for a few weeks. He knows that he has to manage his injury and make sure there is no recurrence of the calf injury. He is refreshed and has had some time away. It has helped him mentally and he's raring to go."

Howe though will be without Switzerland star Fabian Schar who is still overcoming his hamstring injury suffered in the 5-1 win over Sheffield United. Schar was effectively ruled out for the remainder of the campaign by Howe last week, but the former Hoffenheim centre-back is keen to get back quicker.

Howe said: "He won't figure tomorrow. Let's see next week. He's certainly improving and feeling good."

A big call also awaits in the goalkeeping department with Nick Pope now fit enough to sit on the bench but Martin Dubravka in good form. When asked if he faced a dilemma between the posts Howe was candid about his options.

Howe said: "I think if both keepers were 100% fit that is a very difficult call. Nick is still building his robustness. Last week was very clear. Martin deserved to play and Nick is still finding his rhythm. Nick is in a good place and building his strength back up."

Newcastle will also have Miguel Almiron and Joelinton ready to go again after the pair made successful returns against Burnley in last week's 4-1 win at Turf Moor.

Howe said: "They are still building their robustness because you need the load behind you."