Benitez offers fitness update on Shelvey/Slimani – also confirming mid-season friendly & training camp

Rafa Benitez has confirmed that he will take his Newcastle squad to Spain next week for a four-day training camp and ‘competitive game’ ahead of our three week lay off from Premier League action.

The gaffer also offered an injury update ahead of tomorrow’s huge clash with Southampton, stating that a late decision will be made on Jonjo Shelvey, whilst Islam Slimani’s fitness is ‘improving’ ahead of a possible NUFC debut against Huddersfield on March 31st.

Starting with our trip to Spain, Benitez appears keen to make use of our 21-day break from competitive football by organising a training camp and friendly in his homeland.

After the antics that occurred during Pardew and West Brom’s recent trip to Spain, Rafa has confirmed that this will not be a break in the sun, stating there’ll be ‘no parties’ and instead a four-day training camp including a ‘competitive game’:

“I’m not keen to go to Spain to enjoy the sun – I have been there all my life – but we will go for four days to Spain. Not too long. No parties. Just to train, to make sure we have a competitive game, then come back.

“It’s not easy to find teams that are available at this time. But, we have an idea that, if everything is fine, we will go next week from Thursday to Sunday to Spain to train and play a game, and try to keep the match fitness.

“The opposition still we don’t know because there are three or four teams are in this area (of Spain). Hopefully we can have a good team, and it will be a great opportunity for some players.”

He then touched on the injury news ahead of tomorrow’s game, confirming that a late decision will be made on Jonjo Shelvey, whilst admitting Islam Slimani is ‘doing better’ ahead of his potential debut against Huddersfield later this month:

“Shelvey has been training but we have to be careful & then decide for tomorrow if he can play. Elliot & Gamez are not available. Slimani is doing better, he is improving but we have to see if he can be ready for Huddersfield. We have a strong squad fit”

So, a trip to Spain awaits next week and Jonjo Shelvey could yet be fit for tomorrow’s game.

What do you make of Rafa’s decision to take the squad away from Tyneside next week folks?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

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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