It is Real Madrid’s one-time assistant manager v Real Madrid former manager on Sunday, as Paul Clement and Rafa Benitez face each other.
Rafa Benitez has been ruled out of taking training so far this week, due to the after-effects of surgery.
However, Paul Clement said at today’s press conference that he is expecting Newcastle to be organised on Sunday and declared ‘Rafa has worked on them – you can see that’.
The Swansea boss says the visitors ‘are on the back of a strong result’ after beating West Ham 3-0 but Swansea did ok themselves last time out.
A 2-0 win at Selhurst Park ensured that Crystal Palace are rock bottom and Swansea now have four points, one more than Newcastle.
When it comes to players available, Paul Clement confirmed that Jordan Ayew will be fine despite being ill on international duty with Ghana (and Christian Atsu) but that defender Kyle Bartley is out for three months.
However, much interest will centre on the two big late transfers and whether they start v Newcastle.
Wilfried Bony returned in a £13m deal, whilst Renato Sanches was a stunning signing, the 20 year old Portuguese midfielder arriving from Bayern Munich on loan, a year after a £32m transfer, which could rise to over £70m if hitting targets.
With Bony, Paul Clement confirmed ‘he will be involved’, whilst with Sanches he comments ‘I anticipate he will be involved on Sunday’.
Sounds like Wilfried Bony could well start and Sanches set to be on the bench.
Rafa Benitez will be missing the now injured Chancel Mbemba and the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic – but will be hoping to welcome back Yedlin and Lejeune, as well as free from suspension, Jonjo Shelvey.
Paul Clement pre-Newcastle press conference:
“Newcastle United are on the back of a strong result, they will be organised. Rafa has worked on them – you can see that.
“Having come up against his teams in the past, they always have good structure.
“I think he’s been a very good coach at the top level for many, many years.
“They lost at home to Tottenham and they would be disappointed with the result away at Huddersfield.
“However, they have responded well after two losses – that was a very strong result against West Ham.
“I think all players who have done well for their respective clubs should get good receptions.
“Jonjo Shelvey was a very good player here.
“He has just come back from suspension, so I’m not sure whether he’ll start or come into the game (off the bench).”
“Renato Sanches will be here tomorrow (Friday).
“He will have two sessions ahead of facing Newcastle United and I anticipate he will be involved on Sunday.
“He is still a young player though, so we have to be careful not to put too much pressure on him.
“If you watched him in the Euros, you can see how much of a talent he is. I think he can make a big contribution.
“Wilfried Bony is very focused and has had a really positive influence on the dressing room already – he will be involved.
“Kyle Bartley is out for possibly 12 weeks, which is a real shame because he’s been playing well.
“Jordan Ayew is fit and well.
“He travelled back, trained on his own yesterday and took part in full training today. No problems.”