Islam Slimani Unlikely To Be Involved Against Huddersfield

Newcastle striker Islam Slimani did not play in Algeria’s 4-1 win over Tanzania in a friendly today.

He could play in the Tuesday friendly against Iran, but Newcastle are hoping he can return to Newcastle early next week.

He is still recovering from that slight thigh injury he had on January 31st when we signed him on loan from Leicester.

The Chronicle are reporting today that Newcastle’s back-room team think there is only an “outside chance” of Slimani being on the bench for the home game against Huddersfield.

Islam Slimani – unlikely to be available for the Huddersfield game

That’s a surprise, but the problem is the Algerian has been training alone and hasn’t been involved in any full training sessions with Newcastle.

He’s unlikely to be in the squad if that’s still the case a week tomorrow for the Huddersfield game.

If he misses out on the Terriers game which now seems likely, he cannot play at Leicester City on April 7th in our next game.

So the earliest he will be able to make his debut in the home game against Arsenal on Sunday, April 15th.

That’s a game we can win.

If there are any doubts at all about his fitness for Huddersfield, the best plan of action is not to play him in that game.

That’s so he has another two weeks to recover from the injury, and he can play in our final six league games of the season starting with Arsenal at home on Sunday 15th April.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

34 comments so far

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #1

    I’m reposting this one as it took a while to compose and I don’t want it to be ignored. Sorry if that offends

    Jail, evidence for Ashley’s recent change of approach (if not attitude / motives):
    1) He has suggested publicly (via Charmless) that he is prepared to sit down with Rafa for talks about a contract extension, a courtesy not offered to other fans’ favourites such as Alan Shearer and Chris Hughton – quite the contrary in their cases.
    2) Eventually, Rafa was able to bring in at least a few of the players he wanted in the last January transfer window, which is in contrast to both the previous Summer window and the January window of our promotion campaign.
    3) He didn’t sell any of the club’s top players in the past transfer window, which has been his modus operandi in previous Januarys. In fact, there have been contract extensions given to senior players in recent months (Dummett in Feb 2018, Lascelles in Oct 2017 for eg)
    4) Rafa has been speaking far more positively about his relationship with the chubby one, as per these quotes from January:
    “We have to be sure we stay in the Premier League. Then this conversation (contract extension) will be easier. I told Mike what I thought, and what I think, about that. He knows my opinion and we don’t have to talk now.”

    Finally, and I know this is woolly as owt (but we’re football fans and live and die on emotion) – doesn’t it just feel like there is a better atmosphere around the club?

  • Jib

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #2
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #3

    The thing is there will be money to spend in the close season, where there has been little in the past two windows. It’ll be alarming if Rafa doesn’t get a sizeable chunk of it, if not all of it. If he doesn’t, then yeah, Ashley is up to his old tricks. Of course it could be a ploy to entice Rafa to sign a contract extension I suppose, but if Rafa delivers, why wouldn’t Ashley then continue to support him with the club’s money.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #4

    “past three windows”

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #5

    It would be a shame for Slimani not to get some game time for Algeria, having travelled and trained with the squad. That way he could get some match fitness, which would be at least one positive from the affair.

    If he only plays one game for us and in that game scores one single winner, it will still have been worth bringing him to the club. Not sure Gayle’s upturn in form can be attributed to anything else than Slimani waiting in the wings, although his poor form earlier in the season could have been due to dissatisfaction at having been transfer listed and overlooked for Joselu.

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #6

    Nicky, “why wouldn’t Ashley then continue to support him with the club’s money”

    I’ll say it before anyone else does…

    Because he’s Mike Ashley.

    The only way to get him to change his behaviour long-term is to tie it up in a contract, which is something Rafa has the opportunity to do now and may be something even Ashley realises he cannot resist.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #7

    Rob, Ashley has never had a manager of the calibre of Rafa before. Rafa is the catalyst for change at the club. Also, Ashley has historically allowed the club to spend what it has in the bank. It’d be a surprise even for Ashley if he withheld money to Rafa that is in the clubs coffers.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #8

    He’s the thing about Ashley. He has a fiscally conservative approach with the club, but he’s not irrational. Take Jorgensen, for example at 20 million. To Ashley that’s a big risk to take, knowing it wouldn’t have guaranteed survival, and if we did go down, we’d be stuck with a big money signing in the Championship. Maybe the wrong move, who knows, but not without logic.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #9

    Here’s the thing……

  • Geordie-john

    Mar 23, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #10

    SEND HIM BACK GET A REFUND ! There is obviously more to this so called slight thigh strain. He might have been good for the foxes when he was fit but he’s a crock and not even his country want him to play

  • Jib

    Mar 23, 2018 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #11

    He’s on loan with the fee
    linked to matches played
    So it’s cool.
    No one to blame.
    It just gets filed under
    “sometimes shit happens”

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #12

    Nicky #9, are you writing the longest ever post or did you get distracted? 😉

    As it happens, I kinda agree on Ashley’s thinking over Jorgensen – big risk if we were to be relegated in spite of him being signed and there were no guarantees that he specifically could have made a huge difference to us. Yet I think this is where the frustrations of most lie. Ashley would generally rather hedge against disaster (ie relegation), whereas everybody else can see that with some investment, relegation would be the last thing on anyone’s minds.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #13

    I think Gayle suffered from being in and out the team. Strikers thrive off confidence and that comes from playing regularly and knowing the manager has confidence in you. Mitrovic suffered the same last season. When you look at the games he started he was involved in one goal a game. We have to stick with Gayle while he’s confident.

  • Pottsclock

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #14

    Hopefully we won’t need him for the Huddersfield game. I think we’re good enough to get all 3 points against a side that is worse but will still be hard to beat. I would even say that giving him his debut and changing the team would be a huge risk even if he was fully fit especially as he has not been training with the rest of the squad. The best we could have hoped for was a 20 minute cameo at the end when legs were starting to tire.
    So Arsenal is the first opportunity and hopefully he’ll have trained with the squad by then and the team will overall much better prepared to include him. Not a fan of throwing in players only when they are physically ready.

  • lochinvar

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #15

    Good luck to the Falcons at SJP tomorrow and the 25,000 plus fans who are likely to be there.

    Just please look after the pitch – we need it for some important footie matches in the coming weeks

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #16

    Agree mw

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #17

    Going back to an earlier article. It seems strange we’re linked with this left winger from Galatasary who I doubt would make the step up. At the £13m we’re quoted I would much rather Kenedy for £15 (even £20m). We should be looking at right wingers not more for the left. Traore from Middlesborough could develop into a top player and would probably cost about 15-20m.

    I would love to raid the championship & have Traore – Maddison (or Cairney)- Kenedy as our attacking midfielders with Mitrovic up top, bringing them into play and doing the physical work. We could be like a poor man’s Liverpool. That lot would cost us £60m but would create much more chances than Atsu/ Perez. Add a fast striker another £20m. Sell Gayle & Atsu for £20m.

    £60 would transform us into a top 7 team. The only question marks would be over right-back & defensive midfield, and cover for left-back, but we could get by.

  • Nostradamus the Geordie

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #18

    Hope he plays for Algeria on Tuesday, something within this whole story does not add up. I have friends at my golf course that have had knee’s replaced and come back after six weeks. This, as they call it, slight thigh strain seems to be the worst ever in history diagnosed as slight thigh strain. Be careful bloggers, don’t ever get a slight thigh strain you may be off work for at least three months, maybe keep this article to show you bosses and then take off three months with pay, you will be justified. So my reason to play him on Tuesday, if they play him and his injury flares up and he cannot play for us, which is happening anyways. The Algerian FA will have to compensate Newcastle United, we would get some money back for this debacle.

  • dig-n-dig22

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #19

    Nicky #7

    “Ashley has never had a manager the caliber of Rafa before”

    Ashley only needed a manager the caliber of Rafa to get us out of the Champo . Now we are back in the Prem , Ashley only needs a manager the calibar of Perdew, to keep us just clear of relegation each season, after all, Ashley did give Pardew a 7yr contract.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #20

    Huddersfield will be tighter than a nun’s chuff. They’re going to be so nervous. If they don’t win this game or at least get a point it looks like they’ll struggle with their run-in. Can’t see any more than 2 goals. I’ll be betting 1-0 Newcastle.

    Huddersfield’s run-in after our game: Brighton (a), Watford (h), Everton (h), Man C (a), Arsenal (h) & TBA Chelsea (a)

    I think they’ve lost all but one against the big teams. Can only see them getting 4-5 points (if they’re lucky) which should just be enough.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #21

    dig, I would think after the events of the last 3 seasons, it is more likely Ashley now realizes that he needs a manager of Rafa’s quality to be a top ten epl proposition, and needs to give him a top 8 squad to hold on to him.

  • Jib

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #22
  • tommotoon

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #23

    Enjoyed ya little jokes last night jib

  • mactoon

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #24

    @RobLeenio #1

    I think the only reason Ashley wants Rafa at the club is because he is the best man to keep us in the Prem without sufficient investment and his presence is required if the Staveley sale is to go through at some point. (Oh and Shearer was offered the ‘courtesy’ of having talks about getting the managers job and he’s still waiting for a response!)

    Rafa gave a list to Ashley on 1 Jan for players he wanted to buy for the positions he needed and wanted deals done quickly. Ashley went on holiday and we ended up with 3 loan signings, one of which is still injured. I doubt he was on Rafa’s list!

    The latest from Rafa’s interview a couple of days ago doesn’t say to me that his relationship with Ashley is any better: “If something is wrong, you have to change it, but if you don’t have all the tools that you want… we cannot make the same mistakes again…” (The Chronicle reports he hasn’t talked to him since January so these comments are before Rafa has talked to him about changing things for the summer transfers)

    I don’t see any evidence that the approach has changed. As Ashley is trying to sell the club I don’t think he will spend the club’s money on permanent transfers, January bears this thought out and the current feel good factor can be explained solely due to the fact our league position has improved.

  • toonincheek

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #25

    Jib @11 – You say:
    “He’s on loan with the fee linked to matches played”

    First time I’ve seen that comment.
    Is it true/verified?
    Do you have a source? Or is it sauce?

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #26

    I’d be inclined to have him in the match squad, give him a pain killing injection and if the need arose, either we are winning comfortably or there if a radical change required, stick him on for the last 20 minutes.

    If it’s only a “slight” injury then it shouldn’t create any real harm.

    Is this a re-run of Gayles hammy problems?

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #27

    There really has been significant change at the club, because Benitez now essentially does the job that Pardew and Carr did, and does it much better, and he’s also pressuring the owner for more support, which didn’t happen previously, and he has the leverage to succeed. I don’t think Ashley’s attitude to money has changed greatly, but the football side has changed quite dramatically. Rafa’s squads have balance and depth, with the expectation of the addition of greater quality as the money becomes available. Quite different to what was going on before him.

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #28

    mactoon – it doesn’t matter why he wants him at the club, the point is that he’s prepared to give a fans’ favourite a contract extension, which is proof of his change of behaviour. 2nd, they may be loan signings, but Dubravka and Kenedy were 100% on Rafa’s list, not sure about Slimani but I didn’t say all of the signings were on his list. 3rd – it’s irrelevant that Ashley and Rafa haven’t spoken since January, given Rafa said in January that he doesn’t need to speak to him. 4th – you didn’t mention the fact that Ashley has sanctioned long-term deals for our senior players, which is a much better thing than flogging them to the highest bidder.

    Honestly, as I previously said, evidence suggests Ashley’s behaviour has changed and we can reasonably expect that change to continue into the Summer, if not necessarily for the long term

  • dig-n-dig22

    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #29

    Nicky 21

    What gives you the confidence to think Ashley will have realised his mistakes over the last 3 seasons when he failed to learn the lesson 5 seasons previous when we were relegated and here we are again still in a relegation battle, not a 100% safe yet, thanks to a less than feeble effort by Ashley to back Rafa in the Jan window.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 23, 2018 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #30

    I think the second relegation, and the stability that Rafa has brought since, should have left him with few illusions as to why he needs a manager of Rafa’s caliber. He must realise he didn’t have it right before, and now with Rafa he’s closer to getting it right.

  • Toon XI

    Mar 23, 2018 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #31

    Send that worthless piece of _____ back to Leicester. He is a crock with no heart. A thigh strain that keeps you out this long. Whatever! I’d prefer we punt him and never speak of him again.

  • mactoon

    Mar 23, 2018 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #32

    Rob I applaud your optimism but Ashley is purely money orientated and will not spend the club’s money in January. Rafa is the only one near him who knows anything about football and he has in the main ignored him thus far. He has not learned from his mistakes and I doubt Rafa will get through to him.

  • toonincheek

    Mar 23, 2018 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #33

    I see Merino gave away a penalty in Spain’s Under-23 match.
    Watched the video – NOT a penalty for me.

    Merino ‘slide-tackled’ to block the cross, the opposition player
    just dived over him while the ball was effectively over the byline.

  • mactoon

    Mar 23, 2018 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #34

    def pen for me. takes his legs and no contact with the ball


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