Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has both Daryl Murphy and Jesus Gamez unavailable for the EFL Cup tie tonight against Preston North End, but he is likely to make some changes to the side from Saturday and will give fringe players some playing time.
One of those could be striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, but Rafa was a little non-committal when asked if the Serbian International will play.
Aleksandar Mitrovic in training
But it’s always difficult to know what team Rafa will start for any game.
This is what the manager said when asked if Mitro would be starting tonight:
“We have some players who are not playing, and they will be really pleased if they get another chance.”
“Mitrovic is training well, and hopefully he will play well if he’s playing.”
“If you have a good squad, it’s because we are working with all of them.” “We are trying to improve every single player we have in the squad, whether they are playing or not.”
“We are working with Gayle – he is scoring goals.” “But at the same time, if Murphy is available we will be working with him too.”
“We try to improve Mitrovic, because maybe he’ll play in the next game and be important.”
“If you have this attitude, you have a squad where it doesn’t feel as if you pick a weak team. ” “Everyone is ready to play.”
Certainly Rafa is the consummate coach in that he tries to make every single player in his squad a better player and you can already see the improvement in a number of the players who joined us this summer.
We had seven changes in the side for tonight’s game from Saturday’s starting team that did so well against Ipswich, but maybe that’s too many changes for one game.
Anita Lascelles (c) Hanley Dummett
Atsu Diame Gouffran
And goalkeeper Rob Elliot is back in full training so maybe after the next International break Rob will be pushing for a start in the side.
Certainly competition for places is very high and that’s got to be very good for the team.
Hopefully we can win this game tonight and reach the quarter finals of the League Cup for the first time for a long time.
Howay The Lads!!