The key points from Rafa’s pre-Bournemouth press conference – including injury blow & brutal Colback comments

Rafa Benitez has been speaking to the media today in his weekly pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Bournemouth – confirming that Mikel Merino is OUT once again with a back injury and giving a brutal assessment on Jack Colback’s situation at the club.

Here are some of the key points to take from Rafa’s pre-match presser today:

  • Mikel Merino is OUT of tomorrow’s game and will be missing for 2-3 weeks after sustaining a back injury in last month’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
  • Rafa confirms Isaac Hayden is fit for tomorrow after recovering from a knock, stating Diame, Saivet and Mbemba are other options he has available to partner Jonjo Shelvey – suggesting that even the Congolese centre-back is ahead of Jack Colback in the midfield pecking order!
  • Benitez states Jack Colback ‘knows the situation’ and will continue to train with the Academy, saying he can ‘only concentrate on the players he has’. No way back for Colback at NUFC then!
  • Paul Dummett is ‘back in training’ according to Benitez, but the left-back is ‘not ready’ to return to first team action yet.
  • Rafa confirms the reaction from the players to the Burnley defeat has been ‘very positive’, stating the have been been ‘training even harder!’ ahead of tomorrow’s game – good to hear!
  • Benitez reaffirms that no one should make a judgement on his side until January, saying it’ll be a fair time to judge as we’ll have played all the teams in the league by then.
  • Rafa wary of Bournemouth, stating they are a ‘good team’ who ‘play well’ and know the Premier League well now.

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About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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