Rafa Benitez has provided an injury update ahead of our upcoming trip to Old Trafford, confirming that NUFC quartet Mikel Merino, Jamaal Lascelles, Christian Atsu and the recently returning Paul Dummett will all out of tomorrow’s game.
It was expected that this game would come too soon for Merino and Dummett, but it is a real blow to find both Lascelles and Atsu will miss out.
Lascelles was forced off against Bournemouth with an ankle problem, whilst Atsu also came off holding his thigh late on – only to go away on international duty with Ghana and be unable to take part in some of their sessions as a result.
Here’s what Rafa’s had to say on the injury front today:
“Lascelles & Atsu are both inured and will not be available. Atsu will be out for a couple of weeks.
“We’ll see next week how Jamaal feels. He might be back but we will see.
“Dummett is getting closer (but will miss out tomorrow), Merino has been training with a member of our staff in Spain and will train more next week too.
“The players who will play instead will do well. To lose players is bad news but we have to manage with these injuries.”
With this in mind, you’d expect Clark to fill in at centre-back alongside Lejeune, whilst either Jacob Murphy and Rolando Aarons look to be the two inexperienced options who could come in for Atsu.
Hayden will likely partner Shelvey once again in Merino’s absence, with Manquillo expected to keep his place in the team at left-back after news that tomorrow will come too soon for Paul Dummett.
Atsu’s injury sounds like it could well keep him out of the Watford game, however it’s positive to hear Merino and Dummett are stepping up their returns from injuries.
It’s a blow ahead of tomorrow’s game, but let’s hope they are back ASAP.