The Newcastle manager has almost everybody fit for the game today against the Terriers at St.James’ Park.
Mo Diame, Jonjo Shelvey and Ki are all fit again and pushing for a start in central midfield.
And Paul Dummett is fit and hoping to get back into the side at left-back, but he has competition from new arrival Antonio Barreca.
And Rafa will have to decide if he starts Miguel Almiron or brings him on as an impact sub on the second half.
It’s a nice problem for Rafa to have and we do still have 12 vital games to play in the Premier League before mid-May so it’s good to have almost a fully fit squad available.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
Here’s what Rafa has said today:
“We have Diame who is a really good worker and we have Jonjo who can give you these really good long passes. The difficult thing for me now is to pick the right ones for the right games.”
“It is better to have this problem that to have just two midfielders. It will give us something different.”
“Jonjo being fit is very good and he will increase the competition in the middle of the pitch. It’s very good.”
“We have to analyse these things – we play 4-3-3, sometimes 4-1-4-1, sometimes 5-3-1-1 sometimes, 5-4-1.”
“When we play with five at the back with the wing-backs high it’s 3-4-3 so we have different ways to approach the games in terms of systems.”
“It’s different if you have Messi, you have different decisions to make but we are a team that can adjust depending on what players we have.”
“We are a team who can adapt, who can adjust. We try to do the best for the team.”
“The crowd can see this in another way.”
“It might be that Almiron is not playing then he comes off the bench and scores the winning goal.”
We would definitely take that today – anything to get the win against the bottom club Huddersfield, who haven’t won since November.
We are hoping there are no big shocks today, but we admit to being just a little bit apprehensive.
The goal is to survive this season, (yet again!) but if we can get a winning streak put together, we will start climbing the league table as we did last year.
Maybe we could even finish in 10th pace or higher with a good run-in to the season?