Steve Bruce is confident goalkeeper Chris Kirkland will be fit enough for the trip to face Newcastle United on Saturday. Kirkland played through the pain during Wednesday's Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal, after injuring his lower back in the opening stages of the match. It is a problem which has plagued the 27-year-old keeper for some time, but Bruce is sure the injury is being kept in check and Kirkland will be fit to play on. He said: "Kirky hurt his back the first time he kicked the ball in the opening two or three minutes - he jarred himself. The problem is his back stiffens up when he has to get on trains, planes and buses to travel to matches. We try to manage it, and to be fair, Kirky hasn't missed much for us. It's preventative stuff, making sure we look after him right between games so he's ready to play."