Rafa Benitez has at last had some good news.

The Newcastle boss confirming on Friday afternoon that Salomon Rondon is in the squad for Saturday’s game.

Whether that will equal the number nine starting is a different question.

Rafa almost always errs on the side of caution, so it will likely be a place on the bench.

However, with so few decent striking options and Ayoze Perez being so poor this season, Rafa Benitez could just possibly spring a surprise and throw Rondon straight in IF he is fit enough.

The Newcastle boss also confirmed that Ciaran Clark is now available again, which means only Jamie Sterry and Florian Lejeune are still injured.

A win could see Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone, whilst a defeat could leave the bottom of the table looking pretty horrendous, with NUFC potentially at least five points from safety already.

Rafa Benitez says he is both ‘optimistic and realistic’ and that the squad simply has to carry on and try to get that first win and hopefully kick things off.

Watford and Bournemouth have both done well so far but if Newcastle could beat Southampton, then surely we could hope for a decent chance of more points with those two heading to St James Park in the following pair of matches.

Rafa Benitez speaking to media before Southampton match:

“Salomon Rondon is available. He is in the squad.

“It’s a long-distance race, and we have to carry on. I am optimistic and realistic.

“The main thing for now is to focus on Southampton, to focus on the next game.

“Our away fans are fantastic and we know they will be supporting the team.

“Salomon Rondon coming back gives us more competition, and that has to be good news for us.

“I’d like to see the team play at the level we played at against Manchester United at Old Trafford – the chances that we had, the belief, the determination.

“The team is working so hard.

‏“We are so close to winning the first game, and we have to believe we can do it.

“Our job now is to keep encouraging the players to do what they can do, and hopefully we can be successful.”

  • Vodkamagpie

    Rondon up front, muto behind him, Perez on the bench, = 3pts

    • Rabid Dog

      I’d be amazed if Rondon starts.

      • East Durham Mag

        We’ll all be amazed if Perez doesn’t start.

        • Themoscow72

          Perez will start and could get a hattrick.

          • Kenny


          • Peaky

            I really do think a couple of weeks in St George’s Morpeth wouldn’t go amiss there….Moscow Monk is totally fuckingbonkers….

          • Themoscow72

            Perez will come good mark my words. Talking of Morpeth going to see them in the Next International break against Loughborough Dynamo but it’s away sorry.

          • Peaky

            Have had to upmark you there cos there’s just no holding you down….are you one of these people that’s been to every football ground in the country…if not the world ???

          • panther

            on football manager

          • Malcolm Fisher

            Then you woke up!!!

        • Rabid Dog

          Agree. I honestly think Perez needs benching for a couple of games and come on later. I’ve said it many times he’s a confidence player, and if stuff is going right for him he delivers. If not, he goes missing and makes the wrong runs, and generally looks a bit clueless. It’s a shame as he does have talent but we need someone who can deliver….. and it isn’t him.

          • Kenny

            He is not up to the job in the premiership,
            he is in his 5th season and had a 6 month purple patch last season

        • Peaky


      • Peaky

        And if he does I’m going 24th minute before he limps off then is out til January…..

        • Rich Lawson

          You take a lad out of the potteries to the mighty spires of Sheffield !!

  • Kenny

    Another must win game, until the next must win game.
    following Newcastle is like digging your way out of a pile of schit only for the owner to take another dump on you.

    • Vodkamagpie

      If we win 3 games in a row, we go midtable. We were unlucky against man utd, Brighton. Unlucky not to draw against Tottenham, unlucky not to steal the win at Cardiff. My conclusion, we have been unlucky. Currently watching the Brighton game over again, still cant believe we lost that game.

      • Kenny

        the table does not lie.

      • BanJones

        There is no such thing as luck.

      • grantham mag

        We were not unlucky we are schit thanks to the fat slug.

    • Cushty lad

      All hail the mighty Kenny. The north easts own Joey Essex! Get behind the team for once will ya!!!

      • Kenny

        F##k off, vermin troll, get back in your bin you piece of schit

        • Cushty lad

          Go on Joey. Copy & paste lad. Hilarious 🔔.🔚

  • Paul Cannell

    He’s fit !!
    Yeeha !!!
    That’s us safe !

  • killymag

    Let us hope he does not over reach himself when putting his boots on .

  • robbersdog

    Rondon’s fit? Oh whoopee, I’m doing cartwheels.

  • Billmag

    Don’t think that Rondon will start but if he comes on as sub I hope it’s at the expense of Perez unless he scores that is, I would like to see Rondon, Muto partnership.

  • 5floorshigh

    its like having choices where all the options are useless

  • andrew baron

    Start him then sub him out when tired. No point having him on the bench then bringing him on at 0-1.

  • Blackburn1066

    Its like having a new signings the Joss brothers WOW!