Tuesday 23 July 2019

Newcastle’s injury worries mount following Blackburn cup clash

Ciaran Clark was substituted at half-time and his replacement Jamaal Lascelles limped off just before the hour.

Rafael Benitez speaks to Sean Longstaff after the FA Cup win at Blackburn (Martin Rickett/PA)
Rafael Benitez speaks to Sean Longstaff after the FA Cup win at Blackburn (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Phil Medlicott, Press Association Sport

Newcastle will assess a host of players ahead of Saturday’s crunch Premier League clash with Cardiff having emerged from the FA Cup victory at Blackburn with fresh injury concerns.

The third-round replay, which the Magpies won 4-2 after extra time, saw Ciaran Clark substituted at half-time due to a knee problem and his replacement Jamaal Lascelles then limp off just before the hour mark with a hamstring injury.

Isaac Hayden, on for Lascelles, took a kick in the back and Fabian Schar received treatment, although neither were taken off.

And boss Rafael Benitez later revealed Kenedy had not been involved because of a foot issue.

Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Mohamed Diame (hip) and Paul Dummett (hamstring) have also been sidelined.

Benitez said he did not think Clark’s injury was very serious and stressed the need to wait with regard to Lascelles’ as “when it is a hamstring you never know.”

He also said Hayden was “OK” and added of Kenedy: “He had a problem with his nail.

“He cannot put boots on, as soon as he does he is feeling pain. He’s getting better and in one or two days he will be OK hopefully.

“With Shelvey and Dummett we have to wait, and Diame. We have to assess the three of them maybe on Wednesday or Thursday.”

Newcastle, who had gone six games without a win in all competitions prior to Tuesday’s replay, also have Ki Sung-yueng and Yoshinori Muto unavailable because of the Asian Cup.

The club are yet to make a signing this month, and when Benitez was asked if the injuries strengthened the need for reinforcements, he said: “You know I will not talk about the transfer window, but if you have more players, always it can help.”

Newcastle will go into the home game against Cardiff lying 18th in the table, one place and one point worse off than the Bluebirds.

With their starting line-up showing eight changes, they raced into a 2-0 lead at Ewood Park as two products of their academy scored their first goals for the club, Sean Longstaff netting a deflected effort in the opening minute and Callum Roberts, also 21, then marking his full debut with a 22nd-minute volley.

Blackburn replied through former Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong and Darragh Lenihan before the visitors triumphed following extra-time strikes from Joselu – a goal it appeared should have been disallowed for offside – and substitute Ayoze Perez, setting up a fourth-round tie at home to Watford.

Benitez said of Longstaff, who kept his place after starting Saturday’s 2-1 league loss to Chelsea, and Roberts: “For me it’s really important to see some young players coming through – that means all the staff in the academy are doing a good job.

“Both players did well. It’s not just the commitment they had, also they played well.”

He added: “Longstaff is doing well in every training session with us. With Callum, in his position we have more bodies at the moment. Like (on Tuesday), he has to keep going and trying to do his best.”

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray, whose side are 14th in the Championship, said: “We had four centre-halves missing and had to play two full-backs at centre-half, so it’s probably no surprise we got off to the start we did.

“But I thought we reacted well.

“Ultimately, we left disappointed. The worst-case scenario for us I suppose was to go into extra time and get beat because that drains the players, and they’ve got a massive game on Saturday (at home to Ipswich).”

PA Media

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