Newcastle look set to be without injured duo, Ciaran Clark and Daryl Murphy for the upcoming double-header against Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion at St. James’ Park.
The Chronicle reported yesterday that Clark’s knee injury is more serious than first expected, with Daryl Murphy also nursing a calf problem that, like Clark, ruled him out of Ireland’s International break.
The capable Grant Hanley filled in for the injured Clark in the 0-0 draw at Birmingham last time out, but having pulled out of the latest Scotland squad with an ankle injury, it remains to be seen as to whether Hanley will be fit to face Wigan.
Should the Scot fail to recover in time, Newcastle fans can expect to see the long awaited return of Chancel Mbemba, who is yet to feature since a home defeat to Blackburn in November.
Murphy’s absence could also see the return of Aleksandar Mitrovic, with the Serbian striker bagging an impressive goal at the weekend in a 3-1 win for his national side.
I fully expect Gayle to start on Saturday, however I imagine two games in four days may be pushing it, given his recent hamstring problems and subsequent match fitness, so expect Mitrovic to be handed a chance against Burton, should Murphy fail to recover.
Clark and Murphy’s cool heads may be missed in the side, but the fact that we have the capable Mitrovic and Mbemba in reserve, highlights the strength in depth within this Newcastle United squad.