`

Rafa Benitez gives update on Jamaal Lascelles’ fitness ahead of Newcastle’s game against Leicester

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez hopes to welcome back at least two players for Leicester City’s visit to St James’s Park.

Newcastle United have missed injured pair Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu in recent weeks.

Atsu was very close, Dummett was very close and Jamaal was better, but we’ll see how he feels during the week.

Rafa Benitez

And left-back has been a problem position in the absence of Paul Dummett, who was injured on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Lascelles, Atsu and Dummett are close to returning for the club.

Benitez – whose side was beaten 3-1 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday – will assess them this week ahead of Saturday’s game against Leicester.

“They’re closer, but we will see on Tuesday how they feel,” said United’s manager. “They’re getting better.”

Asked if they would be fit to face Leicester, Benitez added: “I don’t know – we’ll see this week. Atsu was very close, Dummett was very close and Jamaal was better, but we’ll see how he feels during the week.”

Defender Lascelles, Benitez’s captain, has missed the club’s last four games with the ankle problem he suffered in last month’s home defeat to Bournemouth.

Atsu has also been sidelined since that game – the winger suffered a thigh tear – while Dummett has played just seven minutes of football this season. Dummett has been training in recent weeks, but he’s still not able to sprint without feeling his hamstring.

Javier Manquillo and Chancel Mbemba have played at left-back in his absence, while winger Matt Ritchie was used as a left wing-back against Chelsea.