Rafa Benitez has offered some good and bad news on the injury front, revealing that Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett could return for the visit of Watford on Saturday – but suggesting that Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu will miss out once again.
On top of this, Isaac Hayden’s yellow card in the 4-1 defeat at Man Utd was his fifth of the season, meaning he will also be missing on Saturday, making Merino’s possible return all the important.
Here’s what Benitez had to say on the club’s official website when discussing the latest injury news:
“Lascelles is getting better, but still he will need some time, and Atsu is the same. It is too early to say (when they will be back),” he said.
“But Merino has been doing part of the training session and Dummett has done the full training session, so that is positive news for us.”
It seems Lascelles and Atsu will BOTH miss Saturday’s game, with Rafa suggesting it is too early to say when they will return, however it is a real boost to hear that Merino and Dummett are back in training
Benitez then highlighted the importance of Merino and Dummett, explaining just what the pair would bring back to the team if they were to return for weekend’s big game:
“I think it’s important to have players coming back,”
“With Merino, he was doing so well and the fans were so excited. If he is OK it will be a big boost for everyone, because you always need quality.
“Dummett is important for us, because he is one of the only left-footed full backs that we have. He is someone who has some experience too, and will give us more competition and different options.”
Given Merino has only been doing ‘part’ of the training sessions and Dummett back in full training, it seems the latter is more likely to return, however the outlook seems positive for BOTH to play on Saturday if they come through the week unscathed.
A real boost ahead of what will be a tough game and a big one for us after three straight defeats.