During his press conference yesterday Rafa indicated there were no real injuries to the squad, just one or two players who have knocks but they were not too bad.
However, with this game tonight coming just three days after Saturday’s win at Derby, that could be enough to cause the manager to show some caution.
The two players with knocks are Yoan Gouffran and Jack Colback, so they will likely be two players who will miss out tonight in order they will be 100% fit for the game against Wolves at home on Saturday.
Yoan Gouffran – problem with his hip
And Benitez has also said today that Yedlin and Lazaar who are both full-backs were signed because of their versatility and they can also play as wingers.
So maybe that’s what we will see tonight – maybe Yedlin on the wing in place of Gouffran?
Yedlin works very hard so he would be a good replacement for Yoan Gouffran and Rafa has played the young American twice in the last couple of games – since he arrived on Tyneside.
This is what Rafa has said today:
“Lazaar and Yedlin can be both full-backs and wingers, yes.” With him, because he has this pace, we thought playing away from home he could make a big impact there.”
“We have these kind of players that can play in two positions.” “It’s much better. When you have 26 or 27 players in your squad it is easier to move players around.”
“You can keep everybody happy and balance the team.” “Yedlin is really quick.” “We needed a little bit of pace at the end of the transfer window. We were looking for that and we got it.”
“Gouff has a problem with his hip, Colback is a little tight around his hamstrings,”
“We have some players with some knocks which we will have to consider, because we will have played two games in a few days.”
“Some players are not playing and they want to play, the difficult thing for me is telling a player he will not play.
“But what I want to keep telling them is that, even if they don’t play, they will be part of the team and be part of any success.”
If players do have knocks this season they will generally be rested for the next game, since Rafa has so many players just waiting for their chance in the first team.
It will also help cut down on the injuries – and that’s therefore a good situation for Rafa to have.