Belfast Telegraph

Pulis urges Brunt to forget Euro hurt and focus on recovery

By Liam Blackburn

West Brom manager Tony Pulis admits Chris Brunt's knee injury has come at an horrific time after it was confirmed the Northern Irishman would miss Euro 2016.

The versatile 31-year-old underwent surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on Thursday and now begins a six-month spell on the sidelines, ending his season and his hopes of playing in France this summer.

Brunt had helped his country reach their first major international tournament since 1986 but will now not be able to join Baggies team-mates Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans in Michael O'Neill's squad. Brunt was back at his club's training facilities yesterday and Pulis has urged him to put aside the bad news and focus on returning to fitness for the 2016-17 campaign.

"At his age and the fact Northern Ireland have got there for the first time in a long time, I think Chris was really looking forward to it along with G-Mac and Jonny," Pulis said.

"It's so, so unfortunate for the lad, so, so disappointing. But it's happened and Chris is going to have to get on with it. What we're talking about now is making sure we give him as much help as we possibly can to get himself fit for next season.

"This season obviously has been washed away, the Euros has been washed away. It's important he focuses on getting himself fully prepared and ready to go for next season. Brunty will need a couple of days to get over it. You have to get over these things and unfortunately it's happened at a terrible time for the kid in lots of respects.

"It's happened and you have to be man enough to stand up and get on with it."

Brunt will join an injury list that includes James Morrison, Callum McManaman and Evans ahead of tomorrow's visit of Manchester United to The Hawthorns.

Louis van Gaal's side have had an upturn in results of late but the Baggies have also been buoyed by a run of just two defeats in 10, while they are also unbeaten at home since before Christmas.

"We will go out there and do our best; that's what we've done in all of our games," Pulis added of his approach to facing United.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will not be in the running for the Newcastle United job should Steve McClaren be sacked this weekend.

Newcastle, who have picked up just three points from their last five league fixtures, are in a relegation fight and former England boss McClaren could be sacked if the Magpies lose at home to Bournemouth today.

Former Newcastle United player O'Neill has caught the eye of clubs after steering Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals but the Belfast Telegraph understands that former Manchester United boss David Moyes will be asked to steady the ship on Tyneside.

Moyes and O'Neill could interest Celtic should they part with Ronny Deila but the former Everton chief is expected to assist United's survival fight.

Kyle Lafferty was on the scoresheet last night in a rare appearance for Norwich City's under-21 team.

The Northern Ireland striker scored the only goal for the Canaries' youngsters in a 2-1 defeat against Manchester City.

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