Rafa Benitez has given an update on Newcastle’s injury situation, and our injuries (or lack thereof) will be important as we start a stretch of 10 games in 38 days next Saturday when we are at home to a very good Watford side.
There’s some good news from Rafa, and it’s about Mikel Merino who seems to be suffering no problems in training with his back, and if that continues, we expect he will likely start in central midfield on Saturday.
That would be a welcome return because of his creativity and also because Isaac Hayden is suspended for the game after picking up his 5th yellow card at Old Trafford.
Paul Dummett is also stepping things up in training, and maybe he could make the bench on Saturday with Benitez likely wanting him back in the left-back position for the heavy schedule coming up.
Mikel Merino – could be back on Saturday?
If Paul is showing good form, there’s a chance both Merino, and Dummett could even start the game on Saturday.
This is what Rafa has said about the injuries:
“Jamaal Lascelles is getting better, but still he will need some time, and Atsu is the same. It is too early to say when they will be back.” Benitez explained.
“With Merino, he was doing so well and the fans were so excited. If he is OK it will be a big boost for everyone, because you always need quality.”
“Paul Dummett has done the full training session, so that is positive news for us.”
The bad news is that we’ll have to wait for Lascelles to come back and hope that Lejeune and Clark can do the job in central defense until the captain is fit again.
Christian Atsu is still out, but it gives Jacob Murphy another chance to shine on Saturday at home in front of Newcastle fans.
Mikel Merino’s last appearance was the last time we won (four games ago) when he came on in the second half against Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park and headed home the winner after 86 minutes to get the precious 1-0 win.
Maybe with Mikel back in the side and Jonjo Shelvey starting to show some good form we can get another 3 points on the board on Saturday.
We need the win.