Vurnon Anita is ready to give Rafa Benitez a lift ahead of Newcastle United’s visit to Villa Park – by declaring himself fit.
Anita left the field late in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace with a muscle problem.
He’s ready to take the risk if he has to do it with his hand.Rafa Benitez
But United manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful that the makeshift right-back will be available for Saturday’s must-win Premier League game against relegated Aston Villa.
Relegation-threatened Newcastle know a win at Villa Park would put their destiny back into their own hands – if Chelsea beat Sunderland.
Anita – who scored against Manchester City last month – has impressed in defence in the absence through injury of Daryl Janmaat.
Janmaat suffered hand and groin injuries in last month’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton.
The 26-year-old, having recovered from the groin problem which forced him off at the St Mary’s Stadium, is cleared to make a tentative return to full training.
But a competitive playing return for Janmaat before the end of the season is complicated by the need to wear a cast to protect the hand he fractured punching a door after the game.
Janmaat had lashed out in frustration during heated post-match exchanges.
The Holland international, according to Benitez, would also need to be cleared to play by the club’s doctor and the surgeon who operated on him.
However, Janmaat is willing to take the risk and play – even though is hand is not fully healed.
Benitez said: “He’s ready to take the risk if he has to do it with his hand.”