Key Newcastle United players come through Spain trip unscathed - as Rafa Benitez hopes for defensive boost ahead of Huddersfield Premier League return

Newcastle United's squad came through their Spanish warm weather camp unscathed with a number of key players edging closer to full fitness.

By Liam Kennedy
Saturday, 16th February 2019, 3:13 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th February 2019, 3:17 pm
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.

The Magpies flew home last night following their 1-1 friendly draw with CSKA Moscow and will have a few days at home to rest before getting back to preparations for Huddersfield Town's trip to St James's Park in six days.

And manager Rafa Benitez heads into his side's Premier League return with a stronger squad than before he left for La Finca following the 1-1 draw with Wolves at Molineux.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.

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Having missed the Wolves outing Ki and Paul Dummett both completed 45 minutes against the Russian side, Mo Diame continued his own return, while a number of players who have seen their gametime limited lately - the likes of Kenedy, Karl Darlow, Federico Fernandez and Yoshori Muto - got valuable run outs.

And, of course, Antonio Barreca and record signing Miguel Almiron also got minutes under their belt.

Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark.

Despite United's recent form in the league, Dummett, Diame and Ki all staked a real claim for a recall against the Terriers and are likely to come into contention at the weekend.

The Pinatar Arena friendly came around too soon for Jonjo Shelvey, who has played just 12 times for United this season, but he has an outside chance of a recall at SJP. Although, with options aplenty in the middle, Benitez is loathe to bring the 26-year-old back too soon.

One player who missed some sessions in Spain was defender Ciaran Clark.

Benitez hopes the Republic of Ireland centre-half will give him yet another selection headache next weekend.

"Clark had a problem in one of the later sessions in the week," said Benitez.

"I think he is getting better and hopefully he will be OK for next week. He is getting better."