Newcastle have banned players from shaking hands with each other as a reaction to the coronavirus virus which is causing major disruption to sporting fixtures around the world.
While there is no evidence that the Magpies are directly affected, they are acting on medical advice to keep physical contact to the minimum.
Normally, the Toon management and squad warmly greet each other when they arrive for training every day – but that has now stopped.
“We've stopped shaking hands on the advice of the doctor,” said manager Steve Bruce. "We're mindful of a bug sweeping through.
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“We had it at Christmas when four or five were ill and you just have to stay at home. Like everyone else we are glued to the TV to see what happens next.
“Let us hope it does not get any worse in this country.”
Bruce will send out a very different Newcastle side when they face Burnley at St James' Par tomorrow.
Not only is he set to ring the changes following back-to-back defeats at Arsenal and Crystal Palace, the Toon chief is set to abandon the formation which he's adopted for the past four months.
That could see the Magpies play with just two centre halves for the first time in months and operate with twin attackers
Newcastle have failed to score in their last three league games and Bruce accepts a tactical overhaul is now required to address an issue which has heightened relegation fears among some fans.
With the exception of the injury-plagued Andy Carroll, he has a fully fit squad to choose form with Jonjo Shelvey and Javier Manquillo back in the fold.
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Bruce added: “We have not created enough nor done enough.
“We were a threat on the counter attack' but that has waned in last the few weeks for whatever reason. So we have to try something different to try and score more goals.
"When you look for change you either change the personnel or the system, That is why you have a big squad.
“It is something we have talked about and worked on. If change is a new era, then we will try.”
- Newcastle United FC
- Steve Bruce
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