Rafa Benitez left with injury headache at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez is sweating on the fitness of two key players at Newcastle United.

Benitez's side take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Jonjo Shelvey.

Jonjo Shelvey.

And United's manager must decide whether Jonjo Shelvey, an unused substitute last weekend, is ready to return to the starting XI.

Benitez is unwilling to take any risks with the midfielder given his importance to his side.

Shelvey hasn't played for more than a month because of a thigh injury which has been troubling him since pre-season.

There is also a concern over captain Jamaal Lascelles, who has an ankle injury.

The defender was forced off against Arsenal last weekend.

Speaking after the game, Benitez said: “He twisted his ankle in the warm-up.

“He was trying in the first half and we had to make the substitution, so, in the end, it was one less option for us to change things during the second half.”

Lascelles is yet to return to full training, according to the Daily Star.