Rafa Benitez confirms 5 players not available for Derby County match
Rafa Benitez and his squad now have to concentrate on their next match after the fallout from the January transfer window continued into Friday.
The Newcastle Manager says that he believes all of his players will be available for selection, with the exception of five that he named as definitely missing.
According to Rafa, Chancel Mbemba is back from Gabon but can’t play against Derby due to ‘stiffness’.
Jack Colback is ‘improving’ from an unspecified injury, the same situation with Dwight Gayle and his hamstring.
Completing the quintet are long-term injured Vurnon Anita and Rolando Aarons.
Dwight Gayle of course is the one Newcastle fans are desperate to see return but little wonder Rafa isn’t rushing him back just yet.
After tomorrow’s match there is a free week before Newcastle then have a schedule of eight Championship matches spread over only 29 days.
A bit of a sobering thought that by the time we hear the final whistle of that Newcastle v Fuham game on Saturday 11 March, there will be only nine Championship matches remaining.
“We have Chancel Mbemba coming back from the African Cup of Nations but he is a little bit stiff so he will not be available.
“Jack Colback is improving and Dwight Gayle is improving but still not ready.
“Anita is in the same situation and obviously Aarons.
“The other players are fine, training well and hopefully all of them can play tomorrow, if necessary.
“We have finished the transfer window, we have a good squad and I have confidence in them. My priority is to be sure that we are ready for the next game against Derby.
“I am ready to fight and try to get three points in the next game and to get promoted at the end of the season.
“The fans, from the beginning, have been pushing and helping me to enjoy my job so I’m just trying to make sure that the players, the staff, everyone is pushing in the same direction.
“We have to be sure that we concentrate on getting three points every game, and keep pushing. We saw yesterday that Brighton lost a game and it’s so difficult in this division.
“We have to be sure that we train well and work hard. With the players that we have at the moment we were doing really well in the first part of the season, and we have to do the same in the second part of the season.
“We have to do it together. If we have problems on the pitch, the fans have to help and they have been fantastic during the whole season.
“Especially when you go away, you can see the fans and even after the defeat in the FA Cup they were there, and the game after they were supporting the team. That is the way.
“We have to stick together – fans, players, staff, everyone – be sure that we are stronger every game.
“The teams that are behind are doing well and they are quite dangerous, but you see Brighton, who are very strong, had massive problems yesterday.
“It’s so difficult this division, but I have confidence that we are doing well and we will do well. We’ve had some bad games, but we are strong enough to compete, to win and to go up.”
Newcastle United’s upcoming schedule:
Saturday 4 February – Newcastle v Derby (3pm)
Saturday 11 February – Wolves v Newcastle (5.30pm) – SKY SPORTS
Tuesday 14 February – Norwich v Newcastle (7.45pm)
Monday 20 February – Newcastle v Aston Villa (8pm) – SKY SPORTS
Saturday 25 February – Newcastle v Bristol City (3pm)
Tuesday 28 February – Brighton v Newcastle (7.45pm) – SKY SPORTS
Saturday 4 March – Huddersfield v Newcastle (5.30pm) – SKY SPORTS
Tuesday 7 March – Reading v Newcastle (7.45pm)
Saturday 11 March – Newcastle v Fulham (3pm)
Saturday 18 March – Birmingham v Newcastle (3pm)
(Then a two week international break follows, before Newcastle v Wigan on Saturday 1 April and a reunion with Gabriel Obertan)
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