Newcastle United briefing: Newcastle's injury woes worsen as Florian Thauvin looks back on his disastrous move
Rafa Benitez had hoped that Newcastle United's injury problems would ease over the international break.
But they've worsened, if anything.
And two of Benitez's international brigade have now withdrawn from their squads before kicking a ball with their countries.
Here is your daily briefing:
Out of luck
It was confirmed today that Daryl Murphy had been forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad because of injury.
The striker yesterday had a scan on a calf problem.
And the 34-year-old has now had to withdraw from Martin O'Neill's squad for Friday night's World Cup qualifier against Wales.
Roy Keane, O'Neill's assistant, will give an update on the Republic's injury problems later today.
The news follows defender Grant Hanley's withdraw from the Scotland squad.
Murphy and Hanley played in Saturday's goalless draw against Birmingham City at St Andrew's.
And Hanley spoke after the match about the result and what the international break could mean for the club, which leads the Championship by a point.
The pair will now be assessed ahead of the April 1 home game against struggling Wigan Athletic.
One player that won't be at Newcastle United next season is Florian Thauvin, who has triggered a permanent return to Olympique Marseille.
Thauvin, on a season-long loan at the Stade Velodrome, made more of an impression off the pitch at St James's Park after joining in a Â£15million deal in the summer of 2015.
The 24-year-old wore tuxedos to games, but he wasn't so sharp with the ball at his feet.
Thauvin, called up by France for the first time after impressing for Marseille this season, made just a handful of starts and was booed on his last competitive appearance for the club against Watford in January last year.
The winger soon returned to the Stade Velodrome on loan.
“My season in Newcastle, even if it was complicated, did me good," the 24-year-old told RMC. "It made me grow up and I became another man on my way back from England.
“I’m 24 years old now. It’s been a while since I’ve been working on myself to be consistent at every game.
My visit to England made me feel good and made me understand certain things about high level requirements."
Rest and recover
Ayoze Perez has had a tough season.
The forward's adjustment to the physicality and intensity of the Championship hasn't been an easy one.
Perez, however, put in a bright performance against Birmingham in the No 10 position.
“After these few months with no break and a lot of games, it’s going to be good for us to rest our legs and our minds as well,” said the forward. “We need a small rest. It can be good. We have to be ready for April. It’s going to be really busy.”
For news and updates, follow NUFC writer Miles Starforth on Twitter here