The game League Cup tie with Hull City is just one day less than two weeks away and it’s clear that Rafa will field a very strong side for that game so we can reach the semi-finals – which is a two-legged tie as we try to reach a final for the first time in 18 years.
The last time we were at Wembley we were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in 1999 and the year before that we had lost 2-0 to Arsenal.
Whereas Newcastle this season have lots of players available and Rafa can basically field two completely different sides and there’s not much to choose between those sides, Hull City have been short of players nearly all season.
Mike Phelan – Hull manager – injury concerns
Hull City at one point just before the start of the season had only 15 fit players available.
They have a number of injury concerns at the moment and some of their players have already been ruled out of the Newcastle game.
Former Newcastle target Abel Hernandez has a groin strain and will definitely miss the game and only yesterday it was announced that Hull City striker Will Keane has undergone surgery on his knee and will be out for up to a year.
It’s a similar ACL knee injury that Tim Krul picked up last season and he is still to make his comeback in a competitive match and has been out 13 months already.
Manager Mike Phelan has this to say on the Hull web-site yesterday about Will Keane, the twin brother of Michael Keane the Burnley center-back:
“To lose a player of Will’s quality and potential for such a long period of time is a big blow.”
“I’m sure his determination and mindset will see him through the tough journey ahead.”
All players who are out and listed on the physioroom.com web-site include:
Player Injury Return Date A Hernandez Groin Strain December 5, 2016 W Keane ACL Knee Injury No Return Date M Odubajo Patella Fracture May 1, 2017 A Robertson Calf Muscle Strain December 10, 2016 G Luer Knee Injury December 26, 2016 A Bruce Achilles Injury December 17, 2016
One bit of good news for Hull is that first choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor is finally off the injury list, but he is getting back to match fitness with some games in the Hull U23 side, although he has a chance of making the Newcastle game.
So at the moment it looks like manager Mike Phelan – who has a small squad to start with – has only 18 players fit at the moment with three of the above injured players expected back next month, but after the Newcastle game.
Hull are currently 3rd bottom of the Premier League with 10 points from their first 11 games and 5 points ahead of Swansea and Sunderland – and one point behind West Ham and safety from the dreaded drop.
Newcastle have a good chance of beating Hull on Tuesday, November 29th if we can play somewhere near our best form.
Injuries are unlikely to be a problem for us given the big squad of 27 senior players Rafa put together in the summer.