In­juries will force New­cas­tle into changes for Cher­ries clash

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Sport - BY DAMIAN SPELL­MAN

New­cas­tle boss Rafael Ben­itez faces the task of reshuf­fling his pack for Satur­day’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth af­ter los­ing three key men to in­jury.

Last week­end’s first win of the sea­son, a 1-0 suc­cess against Watford at St James’ Park, came at a cost with skip­per Ja­maal Las­celles, mid­fielder Jonjo Shelvey and striker Yoshi­nori Muto all limp­ing off in­side six min­utes ei­ther side of half-time.

None of the trio are likely to be fit for the Cher­ries’ visit to Ty­ne­side with Las­celles back in light train­ing af­ter a shoul­der prob­lem and Shelvey and Muto yet to re­turn as a re­sult of calf strains.

That could mean an­other chance for Fabian Schar, Ki Sung-yueng and Ay­oze Perez, who re­placed them to such good ef­fect against the Hor­nets.

Ben­itez said: “I gave credit to them af­ter the game. I was telling them they have to keep push­ing, and then I’ll be in a po­si­tion where I have to de­cide who can play.

“The play­ers have to keep push­ing. They did re­ally well and the con­tri­bu­tion of the three play­ers was cru­cial to us, not just how they played, but also their ap­proach and in­ten­sity.”

The Mag­pies will have to im­prove sig­nif­i­cantly on their dis­play against Watford if they are to emerge vic­to­ri­ous for the sec­ond suc­ces­sive week­end af­ter they rode their luck be­fore Perez snatched the points with a sec­ond-half header.

They have lost to Ed­die Howe’s men on each of their last two trips north and Ben­itez is well aware of the threat they, and in par­tic­u­lar

Cal­lum Wil­son, pose.

He said: “They are do­ing re­ally well. Teams that have been in the Premier League for a cou­ple of years are in a strong po­si­tion.

“They are in a good po­si­tion in the ta­ble and play­ing with con­fi­dence, that gives their striker a sit­u­a­tion where they can score a lot of goals.

“It is im­por­tant for us to re­mem­ber that we had chances against Manch­ester United and Brighton, but didn’t take them.

“We had fewer chances against Watford, but scored.

“We have been quite con­sis­tent in terms of the bal­ance be­tween at­tack­ing and de­fend­ing, we just have to im­prove in the fi­nal third.

“Af­ter an im­por­tant win, ev­ery­one is a bit hap­pier.

“Hope­fully, we can carry on with the same feel­ing af­ter the next game.”

in-form

striker

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