By 90Min
November 22, 2017

Rafa Benitez has been given a boost to his threadbare squad, with the potential return of Paul Dummett and Mikel Merino. According to HITC, the Newcastle manager told the Shields Gazette that both absentees are nearing a return to the squad. 

The two players return at the most opportune time, with the congested festive fixtures on the horizon. Dummet's return will seem more monumental with the player being sidelined with a hamstring injury since his side's opening day loss to Tottenham.

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The composed Spanish midfielder, Merino has missed Newcastle's last three games with a back injury: "Merino’s been doing part of the training session, and Dummett has done the full training session, so that’s positive news for us," Benitez told the Shields Gazette.

The Tyneside club have lost the three games that the Spaniard has missed through injury. His last appearance for the club saw him scoring the 86th-minute winner against Crystal Palace on October 21, which has signified the players importance to the newly-promoted side.

However, Dummett's absence at the left-back slot has been successfully covered by both Javier Manquillo and Jesus Gamez.

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Although Benitez offered the Newcastle the positive progress on the two absentees, he was rather coy about whether either player would feature over the weekend.

Newcastle host Watford on Saturday, where the Geordies will hope rediscover their winning form which saw them placed in the top half of the table after 10 games.

The Magpies are currently on a three-match losing streak, and now find themselves 11th, just off the cusp of the top half of the table.

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