In today’s press conference Rafa Benitez shared a mixed bag of injury news ahead of Monday’s crunch clash with Preston at St. James’ Park.
Rafa confirmed the game will come too soon for Dwight Gayle, however, handed a huge boost to United fans, confirming that Ciaran Clark should be available to make his return for the game at St. James’ next week.
Speaking to the media today, Benitez gave the following injury update:
“Dwight Gayle is still not ready (for Monday’s game aganst Preston).”
“Clark has been training so I think he will be available but we still need to assess him”
“When you have players coming back from injuries it’s good news for us. The competition increases.”
If i’m being honest, the return of Clark could be more necessary than Gayle.
We looked all at sea defensively on Monday and the return of the calm and composed Clark could be a timely one to steady what is fast becoming a sinking ship. He’s been our best defender this season and our rock at the back and his absence in the side has not gone unnoticed.
As for Gayle, his goals may have been missed, but the striker has looked out of sorts since his return from what appears to be a reoccurring hamstring problem.
Daryl Murphy has proven to be a capable replacement when called upon and the recently improved Aleksandar Mitrovic will also fancying his chances against Preston – a side he has scored 4 goals against already this season.
I’d be more than happy to see him or Murphy lead the line on Monday in the absence of Gayle.
Hopefully Clark will continue to progress well in training this week and make a return to the starting 11 on Monday – it would be a huge boost ahead of a game that COULD seal our promotion back to the Premier League.
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