Deadline day loan signing Islam Slimani arrived on Tyneside carrying a thigh injury.
Initial optimism that the Algerian international could be involved against Crystal Palace was dashed on Sunday, Rafa Benitez not even naming him on the bench.
After the 1-1 draw, the Newcastle Manager stated that the 29 year old striker ‘was not ready’ but he could have a chance for the following Sunday against Manchester United.
Rafa adding though that Islam Slimani would have to earn his place in the team, just like ‘Dubravka and Kenedy’.
Rafa Benitez on Sunday:
“He (Islam Slimani) was not ready (to face Palace).
“He was training on Saturday, he will train tomorrow, and he will have a chance for next Sunday.
“He must compete, like Dubravka and Kenedy.”
Kenedy of course went straight into the Newcastle first team after signing, starting against both Burnley and Crystal Palace.
The Chelsea loan player really impressing and he helped to set up both goals in those games with his set-piece deliveries.
Obviously a little different in Martin Dubravka’s case, as a goalkeeper, and from another league, he was never going to be selected straight away as he will first need to work with the defence to get an understanding, before being considered for first team duties.
However, Newcastle fans will be amazed if Islam Slimani doesn’t go straight into the team once he is available. With Joselu, Perez and Gayle in such poor/average form, the Leicester loan striker must surely be first choice for Rafa.
He only has a maximum of 11 matches in which to be involved, as he can’t play against Leicester.
The good news on Wednesday lunchtime is that Sky Sports have now revealed that Islam Slimani has stepped it up and is now back in full training and will be available for Man Utd this coming weekend.
It will be a massive boost if he can have a similar impact as Kenedy has had so far, a proper goal threat has been sadly lacking and Islam Slimani has got, despite having had limited opportunities to show it at Leicester, an impressive goalscoring record.
Keith Downie who cover Newcastle United for Sky Sports:
“Islam Slimani is back in full training with his new teammates and is set to be involved against Manchester United on Sunday.”