Newcastle United briefing: Mikel Merino wins award, Jamaal Lascelles on Stoke
Newcastle United today revealed the winner of the club's player of the month award.
Fans had to choose between Mikel Merino, Christian Atsu and Ciaran Clark in a poll organised by shirt sponsor FUN88.
And it was no surprise to see Merino win the award with 45% of the vote.
United captain Jamaal Lascelles has been talking about the club's home form ahead of Saturday's game against Stoke City at St James's Park.
Manager Rafa Benitez – who missed the game at the Liberty Stadium – will be back in the dugout for the game, having returned to Tyneside earlier this week after recovering from a recent operation.
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Merino has quickly become a fans' favourite at Newcastle.
The 21-year-old, signed on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund, starred in the victories of West Ham United and Swansea City.
And Merino will be presented with his player of the month award before the Stoke game.
Leading by example
Lascelles scored United's winner against Swansea after making a goal-saving clearance at the other end of the pitch.
And the club's captain has been talking about the visit of Stoke to St James's Park.
“It is going to be a good test – every game this season will be that way. It’s not the like the Championship,” said Lascelles.
“But they are at our place, in front of our fans and I think the way we are playing at the minute anyone will find it hard against us.
“These (Swansea) are the type of games we need to be winning.
"We have Stoke at our place next and that is also the type of game where we need to put on a performance and take the three points as well.”
Seydou Doumbia and Facundo Ferreyra were on target in the Champion League this week.
The strikers had forgettable loan spells at United, but they are scoring goals on the continent.
Doumbia netted for Sporting Lisbon in their 3-2 win over Olympiakos, while Ferreyra netted for Shakhtar Donetsk in their 2-1 win over Napoli.