Rafa Benitez has revealed when speaking to the club this week that new signing Islam Slimani will miss a further two weeks after suffering a setback in his rehabilitation from a thigh injury.
The Algerian has struggled for form since moving to the Premier League with Leicester in 2016, scoring just eight goals in 33 starts and he is yet to feature for The Magpies since moving to the club on loan in January.
Newcastle fans were hoping Slimani would help solve their goal-scoring woes but fans are set to be left waiting to see the forward in the black and white stripes.
When speaking to the media this week, Rafa said: “Slimani had a setback the other day so he will not be available. It will be at least another couple of weeks that we have to keep working with him, because he had an injury when he came and then he had a setback and we just have to deal with that.
''We were working really hard, trying to bring in a player that could give us something different, with experience in the Premier League. We knew he was coming with a small injury but still he has had little problems and now, the last day, he needed to stop, and check again, and we will need a couple of weeks.
''Everybody was expecting him to make the difference. The only positive is that after the game against Manchester United we feel we have enough quality in the squad to cope with the games. Always, a new player – and added competition up front – could help. Hopefully it will help in the next games.''
This will prove frustrating for Newcastle fans with their side languishing just two points off the relegation places. They will be hoping Slimani returns as soon as possible and Benitez indicated his belief that the striker will make a difference upon his return, adding:
''He was training really, really hard. I was watching him training the other day, talking with him and was quite positive. He was feeling really well, training really well, and then he felt the problem a little bit, so we have to be sure that next time he is OK.''