More bad news for Rafa Benitez on Sunday night.

The Newcastle boss saw Rolando Aarons, Isaac Hayden, DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark all miss the Birmingham match on Saturday.

No specified dates on any of them for a return, as United are now into a two week break for the internationals.

Jonjo Shelvey was also not fit enough to start after reporting that he had a high fever on Saturday morning, though he was a late sub in Saturday’s game and should be fit for Wigan at home on Saturday 1 April.

Tonight sees confirmation though that Rob Elliot has been forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland Squad – they are to play a World Cup qualifier home v Wales on Friday 24 March and a friendly v Iceland also at home on Tuesday 28 March.

The Newcastle keeper is said to have a knee injury, though no indication how serious it is.

Meanwhile, Scotland are home to Canada in a friendly on Wednesday (22 March) and then on Sunday 26 March they host Slovenia in a World Cup qualifier. Sunday brings news from the Scottish FA that Grant Hanley has had to pull out of their squad.

They haven’t given any information as to the nature of the injury but the central defender is a regular starter for Scotland and with a vital World Cup qualifier a week today against Slovenia, he wouldn’t have pulled out without good reason.

In Ciaran Clark’s absence at Birmingham, Hanley played the full 90 minutes in the goalless draw, a rare start for the former Blackburn Captain.

Rafa Benitez will be hoping these latest injuries aren’t too serious, as the options – particularly in defence – are looking ever more limited ahead of a busy month, seven games to play in April.

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