Centre-back is easily the strongest position for Rafa Benitez but suddenly the festive period could be seriously narrowing is choices.

The NUFC boss assessing Federico Fernandez today (Monday) after he forced off at Watford after injuring his hip.

Whilst Ciaran Clark is still not 100% after recently being out with an ankle issue.

Rafa Benitez had previously said that the plan is for Florian Lejeune to likely make a first start in the less intense/important FA Cup match against Blackburn, having had only 45 minutes of reserve team football this season.

The last thing Rafa ever does is risk players who are not 100% but with Schar and Lascelles seemingly the only two of the five centre-backs that definitely look ok for Man Utd on Wednesday, we could yet see Lejeune on the bench for this next Premier League game.

The one player who Rafa Benitez most definitely can’t afford to have injured is Salomon Rondon and the manager says the key thing is to improve the supply line to the number nine.

By now I think we all know the strengths and weaknesses of the current options, as always it is a massive essential to bring in a better number 10 to get the best out of Rondon and the rest of the team.

Pleased with his team against Watford, apart from the defending for the equaliser, Rafa once again repeated that only by pulling together as a team do Newcastle stand the best/only chance of getting through this season unscathed.

As for the January transfer window, Rafa Benitez is now following a new constant line, refusing to even comment on it, the same with the chances of a takeover.

Let’s hope the club’s silence on both fronts is broken very soon.

Rafa Benitez reflecting on the Watford match and injury situation:

“Federico Fernandez has a knock in his hip, so we have to assess him on Monday, then see what happens.

“We have enough bodies but always it is not good news to lose any player.

 “We will [also] see [about Ciaran Clark],  was talking to him on Friday and he said he was feeling better but still feeling a little bit his ankle.”

On Salomon Rondon:

“He is doing well and so we have to think he will be OK [fit for Man Utd]

“For us every player is important, because you have to make substitutions in different games, you need fresh legs and you need the quality of everyone.

“I think if we make passes and crosses we will score some goals, so hopefully we can do the same for him [Rondon] and for the other strikers.”

January transfer window?:

“I am happy with the performance [against Watford].

“I don’t talk about the transfer window.

“Hopefully we can do well against Manchester United.”

The performance v Watford:

“I can be happy because before the game against a good team we knew it [a draw] would be a good result but I’m disappointed with the way we were defending [for the equaliser] and we were very close [to three points].

“We had more or less control of the game.

“There weren’t many situations when you could say they were quite dangerous, but the way we conceded… we could have stopped the cross and defended better.

“The way the team was performing [against Watford] is the way we can get the miracle done.

“This group of players were playing really well and doing really well, we have to realise that for us the key has to be the team effort, every player giving 100%.

“In the first-half they did well but after their [Watford’s] substitutions they had better players, at least on paper, and that happens in the Premier League.”

  • Kenny

    Play someone else alongside Rondon,
    he needs support & that knacka Perez isn`t giving him it.
    players pick up injuries in 2 main situations, tackles & if they pull something by 100% physical exertion i.e running at pace. Perez hasn`t had one in over 4 yrs he strolls around the pitch doing sweet FA.
    the day he leaves is the day Nufc will improve.

    • Rich Lawson

      Surprise the fk out of them and play Sorensen up front as well,the boy has nothing to lose,even if he’s not brill’ it was Man’ U’.but on the other hand could be a game changer.

      • Kenny

        Why not, just seen him on vid`s but he is always in the right place at the right time, not many strikers have that in them, that kids does.

        • Rich Lawson


      • Blackburn1066

        Sorensen & Ron Scone up top win, win, win.

    • Peaky

      “Knacka Perez”…..great name for a pyss weak craft ale….😂😂

      • Kenny


      • Rich Lawson

        No.should be a ”soft” drink.

        • panther

          Alcohol free shandy and lime with an umbrella

          • Rich Lawson

            The umbrella’s a nice touch but I fear he would be carried away like Mary Poppins in a light breeze.

      • Tommy

        Monkseaton will be doing the home brew.

    • Rabid Dog

      He won’t tho. It will be another 5-4-1 or 4-5-1 with Perez.

    • Damon Horner

      If you truly believe what you said about injuries then I guess you really love Michael Owen!

      • Kenny

        Got no time for him either.

    • A mag from Paris

      Tell Rafa.. Criticise Rafa for persisting on playing him and not others.
      Rafa believes he’s good, works hard so Rafa must be crazy

      • Tommy

        He must be crazy to work for Ashley

  • KennySamsung

    10-1 against Man Utd.. that’s the formation by the way I havn’t cracked up.

    Ten behind the ball plus the crowd should get us a draw, or a 1-0 loss.

  • Tommy

    I notice Rafa says you need fresh legs coming off the bench i`d like to ask him why he didn`t use Muto then.

  • Kenny

    Rafa oot, he’s clueless. Happy New year Mr Ashley🥃🥃🥃

  • robbersdog

    Ciaran Clark always seems to be injured; it’s like Steven Taylor all over again.