Rafa Benitez has handed NUFC fans some bad news ahead of Saturday’s daunting trip to Chelsea, confirming that Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett and Christian Atsu will all miss out once again.
Both Lascelles and Atsu haven’t been seen since limping off in the 0-1 home defeat to Bournemouth earlier this month, where as Dummett has been missing for several months following a hamstring injury picked up in the opening day defeat to Tottenham.
The trio missed out on the trip to West Brom last night, and Benitez has confirmed that we look set to be without them once again at Stamford Bridge this weekend:
“Each one is different,”
“Dummett is training but still he needs to have the confidence that he can sprint at 100 per cent and all these things, so still a little time.
“Atsu is still recovering but still a couple of weeks, we will see how he is going on with his recovery.
“Jamaal I have been talking with. He can run, but still he needs to manage it a little bit when he has to turn. How long? Not for this game. Chelsea? Very difficult for all three.”
All three have been missed, however the return of Lascelles and Dummett would be welcome right now after seeing us concede nine goals in our last three games.
We look a totally different proposition with the skipper at the heart of that back four, and his presence and leadership has been missed in recent weeks. We’ve seemed much more switched on with him around.
Atsu has been our main out-ball for many games this season, so his pace and running has been missed, however there have been signs recently that the likes of Jacob Murphy and Rolando Aarons could give us something in his absence.
Mbemba did ok at left-back last night and looks like a decent option while Dummett is out, but the return of all three will give us a welcome boost in the coming weeks as we look to build on last night’s point.