There was some good news yesterday from Rafa Benitez on the injury situation with Vurnon Anita possibly out only six weeks rather than the two to three months previously reported.
The situation with Dwight Gayle is also much better than he had originally thought, Isaac Hayden is not badly injured at all and could even play tonight at a push against Birmingham, but will not be risked.
And striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is well on his way back to full fitness after that terrible gash he picked up on his knee at Birmingham.
So everything was fairly good news yesterday but we still need to bring at least a couple of players in this month.
The two men currently running Newcastle
Daryl Murphy has shown he can get the job done with two goals in the last tow games and he has massive experience in the Championship so getting in another striker doesn’t seem as high a priority now.
And because the injury situation looks a lot better for our strikers, maybe Rafa just wants a winger and a central midfielder brought in this month – that wouldn’t be too surprising.
Andros Townsend and James McCarthy would be terrific buys for us.
This is some of what Rafa said during his interviews yesterday:
“In January, it’s so difficult. To find these players with experience who can make the difference, it’s very difficult.”
“Normally it’s because they are not playing or because they have been injured, or if it is a young player who can make the difference, they will not sell to you because it’s January and it’s very expensive.”
“Still I am confident that we will get some of the players that maybe we need because we are at the top of the table, because we are doing so well.”
“Because we have lost three players to the African Cup of Nations and because now we have some injuries, so you put everything together.”
“I can see everything so positive that it will be easier for anyone to understand that we have to find the right players now to improve a little bit and not take any risk.”
“Sometimes you try, you have everything but the club doesn’t want to sell or the manager of the team says: ‘No, I don’t want to sell this player now because I need the player.’
“I have been offered a lot of players and Lee has had a lot of names, but players that maybe you wouldn’t sign.”
“Why? Because it’s January.”
“But still I have confidence that we can do what we want to do.”
The big weakness that has been exposed over the last few weeks is in central midfield with the team looking listless without Jonjo Shelvey.
So if we can bring in James McCarthy – given he is still available from Everton after the Times reported today that Ronald Koeman wanted to keep him at the club – that would fix that big exposure in the team if Jonjo becomes unavailable again.
Let’s hope we can get him in and Andros coming back would be great – and the Palace fans don’t seem to mind either.