Rafa Benitez has revealed on Friday that yet another injury has disrupted his preparations in this key period of festive fixtures.

Florian Lejeune (foot injury) and Jesus Gamez (recovering from an ankle operation) were already ruled out.

Also set to miss is Aleksandar Mitrovic, with the club still claiming it is a back problem, despite the striker telling Serbian media that he has never felt fitter and is desperate to play again, though accepts he has to leave Newcastle in January to do so.

Today though, Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Rob Elliot is now also on the sidelines.

The goalkeeper picking up a thigh injury against Manchester City which will keep him out for an unspecified length of time.

No indication from the club/Rafa on how long it will be but if Elliot is ruled out on Saturday then it would be logical to think there is no chance of him making Stoke on Monday either.

One piece of positive news though, is that Isaac Hayden is set to return to Newcastle’s squad for tomorrow’s match.

With the Irish international ruled out, it looks certain that Karl Darlow will return after being dropped only 13 days ago.

Despite conceding five goals in the West Brom and Chelsea matches, Darlow had done ok after Rob Elliot had himself being dropped after a string of poor performances.

However, Rafa Benitez was left with no alternative but to then drop Karl Darlow after only four games and bring Elliot in, following very soft goals against Leicester and Everton playing a massive part in the defeats.

Freddie Woodman will now be on the bench and despite his promise, it would be far too much to ask him to come in and play in a Premier League relegation struggle.

Rafa made clear in the summer he was desperate to bring in a new experienced number one but Mike Ashley thwarted that, as he refused to agree to the kind of wages needed for an experienced Premier League goalkeeper who would have no resale value.

Rob Elliot did well against Manchester City and saved a penalty at West Ham, though it was noticeable against the Hammers that he gave his defence very little help or confidence when they were put under pressure.

Whilst obviously we are all desperate to see more of a goal threat added in January, it is impossible to think that a new goalkeeper won’t arrive next month, even if only on loan. Even if Rob Elliot makes a relatively quick return to fitness, a new keeper is a massive priority.



  • Mike Adam

    Amazing how people forget how Darlow kept us in the Chealsea game with a few brilliant saves!

    • Geordiegiants

      Amazing that anyone thinks the odd good game makes a good player. None of our goal keepers are good enough, simple as that. While I’m on it neither are ANY of our strikers.

      • TheNutJob

        me & the bro watched Freddie all summer, he`s brilliant

        • Geordiegiants

          If he is good enough he is old enough, get him in!

        • Mike Adam

          Then why won’t the Messiah play him???

          • Geordiegiants

            In his opinion, he doesn’t agree. The same as I don’t think Donkovitic would bring anything to the table, Rafa thinks the same with Woodman. The thing is, he is a proven premiership manger and I’m a everyday working bloke, and it’s easy to sit here and shout my mouth off, but actually doing it is a whole new ball game.

          • Mike Adam

            You are the great Messiah protector, are you not! You leap anytime someone questions him, Pathetic! Everyone’s opinion counts no matter what you think.

          • hetonmag

            It’s the same one’s on this forum that constantly complain like Geordie say’s it matters not a jot by you lot what Rafa does he will never fit your idea of the best manager we’ve had since SBR.

          • Mike Adam

            Listen, I am behind Rafa. I am just not the type of fan that sits back and supports everything ANY manager does. It wouldn’t matter who it was! I was astonished when Pep brought in Bravo at ManCity last season, I could not believe that choice by a manager of his caliber, he was brutal!!!
            I question, that is my character and that is what these forums are for. Unfortunately, people take things personally at times, and then start to say disrespectful things to fans who have a different opinion.

          • TheNutJob

            we have kart hoss

          • Geordiegiants

            I think he is equally as rubbish, I just don’t think Mitro is the answer. All this lot, with we will never know, yes we do know, he was our number one striker the last time we were relegated, and in my opinion his misses, like Everton and Vile cost us relegation.

          • Soldier

            all good things come to an end & rafa`s recent record is bog standard at best

          • Geordiegiants

            Ha ha how can you say that? He has only had one full season with us and got us up as champions. This season he is tasked with keeping us up, from where I’m standing we look like we are in a decent position.
            How is that him coming to an end?

          • Soldier

            he has the record for the worst run of games since 1960
            he`s past his best & Ashley has him paranoic

          • GlasgowMag

            Its obvious it doesn’t matter whatever Rafa does it’s not good enough for you so who do you want to replace him are you just missing our glory flowing football days under Pardew and McClaren!!!

          • hetonmag

            He’s only 28 years old he hasn’t seen out yet but is forever complaining for someone so young.

          • Geordiegiants

            He is just frustrated with the whole situation, it’s been torture since the parasite took control. He doesn’t really know any different.

          • GlasgowMag

            We are all frustrated but if rafa had the right backing and fails fair enough but its pretty shoddy to slate the guy under these terms. Hopefully new owners soon if not Rafa will be gone anyway and his time with us will be only a pipe dream!!!

          • GlasgowMag

            😂😂😂

        • Geordiegiants

          Where did you watch him?

          • TheNutJob

            world cup all the matches & he had a game for the U21`s

          • Geordiegiants

            How old is he like?

          • TheNutJob

            20

          • Geordiegiants

            Pickford is only 23 isn’t he?

          • TheNutJob

            yes so play Freddie in the cup

          • Geordiegiants

            It’s easy to say they look good enough in these tournaments, but we will never know unles he plays, and to be fair it’s never been Rafas strong point playing the youth team players.

          • Mike Adam

            Why should that matter if they are better players?

          • Geordiegiants

            Are you really that blinkered? It’s not just about having a good game here and there. These days there is more to it, like fitness, attitude, application, diet etc etc. If it was as easy as you make out anyone could be a manger and pick a side for us.

          • Mike Adam

            You know it all, nobody else’s opinion matters. I bow to your wisdom etc etc.

          • Geordiegiants

            It’s not that at all, you think you know a player because he has a decent game here and there, you have absolutely nothing else to go on, how do you feel you know better than Rafa, or Pep for that matter, they do research and have scouts, coaches and dieticians around these players day in day out. You watch a match and a player has a decent game, it doesn’t mean they are that good every week does it?

          • Mike Adam

            Just because Rafa or Pep picks them doesn’t mean they are good. Everything that is researched doesn’t always work out does it??? A great manager also uses his gut at times. You will probably disagree. Look, I am not against Rafa, I support him and the lads. My point about Pep was simply that I personally didn’t think much of Bravo as a keeper and was surprised Pep rated him. Well, he must have researched it and was wrong. That is all I am saying EVERY MANAGER makes mistakes. Just because I question them, doesn’t mean I don’t support them and the team. I simply just have opinions of my own that are sometimes different from the manager, so I question them.

          • nufcslf

            That’s all bollocks. This lot train 5 days a week and should be as fit as fiddles. Far too much weight training. Looks lovely for the ladies, but is all too tight and is the reason for so many muscle injuries. They also can’t even play 2 matches in the same week. Pathetic. Diet and nutrition, most of these overpaid spoilt [email protected] are out there snorting cocaine in their past time.

          • Geordiegiants

            So your saying a fan watching a player the odd time is more informed than a manger that watches every day?

      • DC1964

        I have to disagree, Rob Elliot is a good goalkeeper. Darlow is also a good goalkeeper but made a couple of mistakes recently that lead to goals and himself getting dropped.

        • Geordiegiants

          Neither of those 2 will get in to any other premier league first team, infact I would say neither of them are even good enough to get in many squads to be fair. Krul was a good keeper, then he fell to bits. Elliot was better than him our relegation season, but he isnt good enough as our first choice keeper.

          • thewildchimp

            Well, Elliot is still good, but hasn’t played for a year and thus has fitness and confidence problems. We aren’t gonna spend much money – better to splash it into midfielders and forwards. Things are dire there. If Mitro actually goes away – we have to buy someone.

        • Mike Adam

          All keepers make mistakes, just like all players and managers.

          • Geordiegiants

            Here, here Mike!

          • hetonmag

            Better players make less mistakes.

      • Mike Adam

        Well we will never know if one was good enough this year. Only you and Rafa know for sure.

    • Mark Potter

      Amazing how some people forget how he dropped the ball for Rooney to score in the Everton game. He’s never been a good player, not even particularly impressive in the Championship. He needs to sign that offer from Boro, to free up a place in the squad for a new keeper.

  • TheNutJob

    Freddie`s in the top 5 keepers of his age in Europe, the kids fearless.
    give him a game in the cup see how he does
    wonder if Robs injury is similar to Mitro`s
    😂😂😂

    • Kazie

      I want Woodman to start… Fingers crossed.

  • Kev-82

    I’m not sure I’ve ever known a goalkeeper with as bad a fitness record as Elliot.

    • Geordiegiants

      Mike Hooper

      • Kev-82

        I’ve tried to erase his period at the club out of my mind (other than saving that Klinsmann penalty)!

  • Soldier

    that`s all we need, let`s hope Joselu stays fit

  • steve

    It’s obvious that Darlow isn’t good enough so what harm is there in giving Woodman a go, he’s already played top flight football in 50k+ stadiums so he shouldn’t be phased. If not now then when?

    • Kazie

      I know!!! So why don’t Rafa just start him!!!!!!!!!…. Rafa play him instead of Darlow.

  • Wor Lass

    Rob Eliot and Karl Darlow are both half decent keepers who have pulled off some great saves at times but they are not the sort of class that we need. The problem is that if we`re not going to have the cash to buy a decent striker, which we are desperate for, then why waste money on a slight upgrade to our keepers?

    • Soldier

      i bet i know who`ll be first in & it won`t be a striker

  • TheNutJob

    Bad news lads, Merson`s tipped us to win

    • Whitehurst

      Yeah that’s us screwed then!!

  • joe mac

    it never rains… it just pours!!!!

  • robbersdog

    Woodman will be 21 in three months time and it’s about time he was elevated into the first team picture. His reputation is sky high, he’s reputed to be one of the best young keepers in the world and a chance has to be taken on him sooner rather than later.

    Put him in against Brighton and I don’t think he’ll let anyone down.

    • Kev-82

      The argument is always that age is too young for a goalkeeper yet over in Italy Donnarumma is only 18 and already racked up 90 games for Milan & Italy. If you’re good enough you need to be playing to develop otherwise you are just delaying their development. Personally I think he should have been on loan in the Championship this year if we had no plans to use him.

      • robbersdog

        You’re quite right Kev; he needs to play competitive games – either at Newcastle or as a loanee somewhere else.

        • Kazie

          Honestly if he doesn’t get a chance at all then he should leave.. We clearly going to ruin him.. The lad has great potential.

      • Kazie

        I dream of Woodman starting for us and showing how much of a prospect he is to the club.

      • Kneebotherm8

        We’ve only got 3 goalies and he’s one of them,no chance of being loaned out……he’ll have to play for us if Darlow picks up a knock……he should have been blooded at some stage this season just for the experience.

  • Kazie

    Please Rafa… Start Woodman in this game his a hard working player and will play his out most best in the game..

  • StevieB

    Woodmans too young at 21 !!!! Rooney was curling them into the top corner past Seaman at 16 years old man !!!! If he’s good enough he’ll be fine against Brighton

    • Geordiegiants

      Owen, Shearer, Milner, Rooney, Steve Watson, Norman Whiteside to name a few that were only teenagers. My take is if they are good enough then they are old enough, Rafa mustn’t think he is good enough.

      • Dillon Tovak

        There seems to be the general consensus that keepers need age on their side?
        The only reason I can think can be about bossing around a load of older guys in front of you. But then we have a very young team, so chuck him in I say.

        • Geordiegiants

          I haven’t seen him but plenty of people seem to be raving on about him. That said lots on here rave on about Arma, and he can’t really cut it in the lower leagues.

          • Albert Stubbins

            Arma will never play for newcastle. Not a chance. Shame as he’s better than joselyn!!

    • Albert Stubbins

      Physical development occurs at different times. Rooney looked twenty five when he was fifteen FFS.

      • gallowgate26

        Exactly, and he is a corpse at 30, like Mickey Owen….

  • Guest 2

    And let’s not forget Pickford. Farmed out on loan and started last season (his first Mackem full season) as understudy to Mannone. Sold in June for what could reach 30 million.

    • Geordiegiants

      He is 23 or something.

      • Guest 2

        He is now. Would have been 21 when he returned to the scum in January 2016.

  • 1957

    If Woodman doesn’t see a way into the first team within the next 12 months he will be leaving. From what I’ve been told at u23 games he is fiercely ambitious, looks at Pickford’s progress, feels he is ready and just needs the chance to prove it. At the very least he should be in the team for the fa cup against Luton (and for subsequent rounds if we get through).

    My own feeling is Benitez will bring in his experienced keeper on a 2-3 year contract and Freddie will move on and really will be the one that got away.

    • Albert Stubbins

      Woodman is two years behind Pickford physically at least. I’ve seen him on a few occasions and he’s nowhere near pickfords performance levels either. Would be madness to consider him for first team this or next season imo. If he’s ambitious and clever he should realize that he could have twenty years of first team football ahead of him. I only hope he listens to Rafa instead of agents looking for quick payday!!

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Seen Woodman on a dozen occasions and looked good every time and unlike Armstrong will make it. Also you do not represent your country with a lot of good keepers round would play him against Luton and if all goes well give him a run in the team.

    • gallowgate26

      He will be our Pickford, sold to the highest bidder from London or the North West. Mark these words.

  • Ram

    Regarding the goalkeeper issue ig it’s not just the mistake of the club failing to bring in the new goalkeeper..the problem is also with Rafa.. He brought in a gk last summer it didn’t work out.. how can you expect a club management to keep on spending on Gk if you have 5 goalkeepers already in your books.. maybe they should have shipped off Tim krul early and Karl darlow earlier to bring in the Gk he wanted.. This doesn’t mean I’m against Rafa’s actions or support Ashley… I’m just having a opinion as this article squarely blames just one person rather than the responsibility is on Few others too.. Just a healthy criticism..