The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas believes there’s ‘no way’ Islam Slimani will start Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield – however he has tipped the Leicester loanee to earn a place on the bench, meaning he could finally make his NUFC debut this weekend.
The Algerian appeared for his country on Tuesday, playing 25 minutes in their defeat to Iran in Austria. This will have come as a welcome boost to Benitez, suggesting he’s now injury free, although it is worth mentioning that this was his first appearance for nearly 10 weeks! In other words, he’ll have it all to do in training to show he’s fit enough to feature this weekend.
He’s due back on Tyneside today and will finally resume full training with the first-team squad and be assessed by club doctors.
With NUFC fans wondering if we might see Slimani make his long-awaited debut this weekend, here’s what the Chronicle’s Mark Douglas has predicted regarding his involvement:
Hedging bets, I'd say you might see Islam Slimani from the bench against Huddersfield.
No way he starts. Wouldn't be Rafa's style anyway given how pleased he's been with Gayle's contribution over recent weeks.
— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) March 28, 2018
I think he’s got this spot on. Even if Slimani was fully fit and ready to start, I’m not sure he’d get the nod over Gayle on recent form. Gayle may not have been banging them in, but with several energetic displays and 2 goals and 2 assists in his last four, he’s doing a job in a team that’s done the business in recent weeks.
Seeing Slimani’s name on the bench would suit me, meaning he could be in line for a late cameo if we needed a goal in the last 20.
What do you reckon folks? Do you think he’ll be involved at all on Saturday?