Rafa Benitez has decided to give an injury update four days ahead of the home match with Watford.

The United boss says it is too early to say when Jamaal Lascelles will be back.

The Newcastle skipper forced off against Bournemouth and then missing Manchester United.

A very similar story with Christian Atsu, he also was subbed and limped off in the later stages against Bournemouth and then travelled away with Ghana, only to break down in training. Rafa says it is also ‘too early’ to say when the winger will be back.

Better news elsewhere though as the manager confirms Paul Dummett is now back in full training, no indication though if he has a chance of being involved against Watford.

As for Mikel Merino, Benitez says he was able to join in with part of training on Tuesday and HAS got a chance of playing on Saturday.

The United boss saying the Spaniard’s return would be a ‘big boost for everyone’.

If he isn’t available then with Isaac Hayden suspended, Rafa would be left with the likes of Diame and Saivet as his options to play alongside Jonjo Shelvey.

Newcastle United official update:

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benítez has provided an injury update as his side continue their preparations for Saturday afternoon’s visit of Watford (3pm kick-off).

United welcome the Hornets to St. James’ Park this weekend, hoping for a win which could lift them up to ninth place in the Premier League table.

In recent weeks, they have had to do without the services of a quartet of first-team players, with Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett, Christian Atsu and Mikel Merino nursing injuries.

But he revealed that midfielder Merino, who has been recovering from a back problem, and defender Dummett, who is coming back from a hamstring injury, have both made good progress this week as they edge closer to a return.

“Lascelles is getting better, but still he will need some time, and Atsu is the same. It is too early to say (when they will be back),” he said.

“But Merino has been doing part of the training session and Dummett has done the full training session, so that is positive news for us.”

Merino hasn’t featured since he netted the winner in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last month, while Dummett – who returned to full training last week – has been out since the opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

And, although no timeframe has been set for their comebacks, Benítez said seeing the two players step up their rehabilitation will be a welcome boost for his side.

“I think it’s important to have players coming back,” he said. “With Merino, he was doing so well and the fans were so excited. If he is OK it will be a big boost for everyone, because you always need quality.

“Dummett is important for us, because he is one of the only left-footed full backs that we have. He is someone who has some experience too, and will give us more competition and different options.”



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    we need 3pts on Saturday, if the lads can play like they did for 30mins against the Manks we`ll get them

    • Wor Lass

      I assume you mean the first 30 minutes! Lascelles missing is a blow – he`s been great this season. With Isaac missing, it`s the perfect opportunity for Merino to come in and show his quality – hope he`s fit.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        i`m hoping he`s fit as well

  • molend

    ‘If he isn’t available then with Isaac Hayden suspended, Rafa would be left with the likes of Diame and Saivet as his options to play alongside Jonjo Shelvey’.
    No, there’s Mbemba. Could be a revelation. But if Rafa hasn’t seen it, I’m probably wrong – again.

    • mentalman

      it’ll be Diame, mbemba may come on if diame has another stinker

    • Mike Adam

      No your not, Rafa is. I am not afraid to say it!

  • Mal

    We’ve really missed Merino. Hope he’s fit to start but perhaps a place on the subs bench is more likely.