Rafa Benitez gives injury updates on Ciaran Clark and Dwight Gayle at Newcastle

Ciaran Clark
Ciaran Clark

Ciaran Clark is back in training at Newcastle United ahead of Preston North End's visit to St James's Park.

The influential defender has been sidelined for more than a month with a knee problem.

But Clark – who has been missed in recent weeks by the promotion-chasing club – could be back for Monday night's home game against Preston.

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United manager Rafa Benitez said: "Clark has trained with the team. I think he will be available. We'll assess him in these two training sessions."

Asked if Newcastle had missed Clark, Benitez said: “Those who came in have tried and some have done well, and as a team we have made mistakes. In this case, I am quite pleased with the attitude of the other players.

“Always when you have players coming back from injuries, it is good news for us because the competition increases. It’s one more option, and this is always good."

Striker Dwight Gayle, meanwhile, has a hamstring injury.

And Benitez added: "Dwight is not ready."

Newcastle are seven points behind league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion, who secured promotion to the Premier League on Easter Monday.

Brighton will be crowned champions if they beat Norwich City at Carrow Road tonight.

Benitez's side are six points ahead of third-placed Reading.

Huddersfield Town, in fourth, are a further point behind United, though David Wagner's side have a game in hand.

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