During his press conference yesterday for the game tonight at the City Ground Rafa, coughed a few times and it seems he has picked up a bit of a cold.
As we mentioned yesterday in our team selection for the game, Cheick Tiote could be a surprise starter tonight with Jack Colback still out with that eye problem, although the local lad trained yesterday.
Grant Hanley is still not available, but Rafa seems to be more concerned that his cold doesn’t spread to the players or to his staff.
Rafa Benitez in training
He was interviewed yesterday and this is what he said when asked if he had asked people to keep away from him because of his cold – as reported in the Shields Gazette :
“Especially my staff, because yesterday they were saying ‘stay there!”.
“The players, you go outside and you are not too close. It’s just congestion.”
“No, injuries are still the same,” “We have exactly the same equation. “We haven’t lost any players, but we haven’t recovered anyone else in time.”
“I was talking with Elliot about keeping pushing and then maybe something with the reserves,”
“Colback has been training, but still we don’t want to push him, and Hanley is still out.”
“Tiote will be with us and could be involved, but that doesn’t mean he will be.”
“At the moment he’s our player, everyone keeps asking if he’s still our player but there is still no offer on the table.”
“He’s training well and is a good pro.”
It would be good to get Rob Elliot fully fit and playing again as soon as possible and it looks like Jack Colback is on his way back.
And Jesus Gamez will be out for six weeks with his broken collar-bone and he’s had the operation.
Our next game isn’t until a week tomorrow at home to Birmingham, so that’s one good reason we need a result tonight at the City Ground – a third defeat on the trot would be the worst possible outcome with 8 days to go before our next game.
We need a win to get back on track and to ensure we stay top of the league.