Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez's vision of truly united city, Mikel Merino concern

Rafa Benitez has given an injury update ahead of Newcastle United's visit to Old Trafford.

Benitez has concerns over a couple of players ahead the Manchester United game on November 18.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu were forced off against Bournemouth last weekend, while Mikel Merino's missed two games with a back problem.

Man United manager Jose Mourinho is also sweating on the fitness of one of his key players.

Meanwhile, Benitez has outlined his vision for a truly united city.

Here's your daily briefing:

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Painful

Lascelles is doubtful for Old Trafford with the ankle injury that forced him off the pitch against Bournemouth.

And Benitez fears that the defender will miss the Man United game.
"It’s still a bit painful,” said Benitez. “He’s been working with the physios and getting a little bit better, but it’s slow. “We have to wait a couple of days, and then without inflammation we’ll see how it is.”

Winger Christian Atsu has a "thigh complaint", according to Ghana's football association.

Mikel Merino

Mikel Merino

Midfielder Merino, meanwhile, is "getting better", though Benitez believes he won't be back for "at least two weeks."

However, a report in Spain has claimed that Merino might not play again this year.

United

Benitez spoke to fans at the Newcastle United Foundation's 125 Years United dinner this week.

Jamaal Lascelles

Jamaal Lascelles

And United's manager outlined his vision of a truly united city.

Sharp

Rolando Aarons was on target for Newcastle's Under-23s in their 4-1 Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park this week.

And the winger has spoken about the efforts he's taking to get himself ready for a first-team recall.

The more games I play, the more goals I’ll score and the more goals I’ll create," said Aarons.

"You can’t recreate game time in training, so if you’re playing games – even at this level – you’re going to get sharper."

Rolando Aarons

Rolando Aarons

Hamstrung

Paul Pogba, Man United's £89million record signing, is pencilled in to return to training next week ahead of Newcastle's visit to Old Trafford.

The midfielder has missed the club's last 12 games with a hamstring problem.