Rafa Benitez has had plenty to contend with early in the season.
A tough opening set of fixtures was made all the tougher by a lack of support in the transfer window, not only with the lack of financial backing that was/wasn’t made available, but also with the club failing to push through early deals for the manager’s transfer targets. The net result being most of the new signings playing little or no part in pre-season.
Then having been so lucky with injuries last season, it was cruel that this luck also turned in these past few months.
However, things may be on the up on the injury front now.
Salomon Rondon posted a video early this week showing him doing strengthening exercises in the gym, indicating his injury may be less serious than first feared.
Whilst on top of that, there has been another two bits of positive news.
Paul Dummett is now back in full training, the left-back electing to stay at the training ground to put himself right after missing the last couple of games, rather than joining up with Wales.
With still no decent cover at left-back, Rafa used Kenedy against Leicester and then Manquillo at Man Utd. Neither of them had nightmares but for sure Rafa Benitez sees Dummett as his best option at the minute, despite the defender’s limitations going forward.
A crucial game against Brighton in eight days time and little doubt the Newcastle boss will be hoping to line up with Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez and Dummett to hopefully deliver a clean sheet that will contribute to a win.
Also at the training ground this week, Federico Fernandez has confirmed that Florian Lejeune is now back at the NUFC base doing light training.
He still won’t be back until the new year at the very earliest in terms of playing but his recovery appears to be following the best case scenario outlined by Rafa Benitez previously.
“In the past this injury could be nine months (to recover from) but in our experience with this surgeon (Professor Paolo Mariani) it takes less, between four and six months. Depending what is going on and if we have any complications.”
That four to six month hope would still take us into the new year but that would be a big positive, compared to missing the whole season. Rafa has sent players to this surgeon in the past, both at previous clubs and with Rolando Aarons when at Newcastle, so he has seen positive results before.
Federico Fernandez has been the most impressive of the new faces to join Newcastle this summer and ha quickly shown a level very similar to that achieved by Lejeune in the final months of last season. Centre-back being easily the position where Newcastle have most strength in depth.
Fernandez now talking positively about Lejeune’s ongoing recovery and return to the training complex:
“Florian has come back to the training ground and he is recovering well.
“I hope he is soon with us on the pitch,
“It is a long one (to recover from) but he is already in the gym, (as well as) running and kicking the ball.
“He is positive, he is happy, you can see he is smiling – he spent two months in Rome (after surgery) and now he is (back) with us.”