At his press conference today, Rafa Benitez spoke of the impact that Aleksandar Mitrovic’s absence has had, reports The Chronicle.
The Serb serves the last of his four-match ban tomorrow as Newcastle travel to Ashton Gate to face a Bristol City side on a three-match unbeaten run. Wins over Burton Albion and Wigan Athletic have been complemented with a League Cup win at Wycombe Wanderers.
Prior to Wednesday’s goal fest, Newcastle had been somewhat goal shy, with just one in their opening two games. The blunted strikeforce missed Mitrovic, a point Benitez readily admits:
“For us it has been a problem because he is a target man, the big lad who normally plays up front. He hasn’t been there. So it will give us a different dimension in terms of attack and the options can be a different way for us.”
Benitez’s plan to get out of the Championship revolves around finding a target man. Every forward we have been linked to – see our story on Bas Dost – is one for a player well over 6′ tall. It’s an acknowledgement that we have plenty of players who are mobile in attack.
Having an alternative, either on the bench or on the pitch, is crucial for the promotion push. If we can keep opponents guessing about the way we will play, the advantage remains firmly in Newcastle’s court.