Steve McClaren has reported that he is struggling to put out a back four (or five) against Watford due to injuries.
As well as Kevin Mbabu already confirmed as injured, the United boss says that Paul Dummett and Jack Colback are also struggling to be available for Saturday.
With no other left footed defender, McClaren says he is struggling for alternatives, with right footed Jamaal Lascelles seemingly the most likely to fill in.
In this interview with BBC Newcastle, the subject of potentially playing 3-5-2 also came up, something which worked well in the first half against Watford in the FA Cup until Coloccini was subbed at half-time. Only a daft backpass from Wijnaldum undoing the defence that day.
However, Steve McClaren says that he can’t see any potential left wing-back either.
All a bit strange considering the Newcastle Head Coach had Rolando Aarons actually playing left-back in pre-season and said that he thought he could do a job there. Against Portland Timbers Aarons actually scored two and made the other goal in a 4-3 defeat, starting the game at left-back and getting up and down the pitch well.
After the match Rolando Aarons didn’t sound too thrilled at playing there (left-back) but surely as a left wing-back with a license to get forward knowing he has three centre-backs behind him, sounds ideal for the player’s pace and ability.
Rolando Aarons after the two goals and assist when left-back v Portland Timbers:
“It (left-back) is not a position I am used to playing but I’m a Newcastle United player and I play for Steve McClaren, wherever he puts me I’m going to play – I’m going to do my job first thing. Obviously I prefer to play on the wing and that is my natural position but if I have to do it, I have to do it.”
Steve McClaren talking to BBC Newcastle:
“Dummett I think might be struggling and Jack Colback is also tight in his hamstring, so we don’t know whether to take a risk on him.
“At the present moment out there in training we’re struggling to get any defenders in and struggling to get a back four out.
“We’ll have to wait and see, it will have to be last minute on Saturday to know who is fit and what the team will be.
“We have been trying to look at that (3-5-2 formation) for quite a while and we just felt in a Cup game against two strikers it was appropriate, in the first half I think it worked very well (before Coloccini went off at the break).
“Looking at the niggles that we’ve got, we would be struggling for a left wing-back.
“We played young Kevin (Mbabu) and this time we have got niggles to Paul Dummett and Jack Colback, so we haven’t got a left footer out there.
“We might have to adapt a little bit, look to play probably a back four, then ahead of that try and get some width as well.”