Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed the club are on the brink of a first team goalkeeping crisis with just one senior stopper fit ahead of the clash with Huddersfield in under two week’s time.
The Magpies kicked off the season with five goalkeepers on their books, but following the permanent departure of Tim Krul and the loan exits of Matz Sels and Freddie Woodman, as well as the signing of Martin Dubravka, the Spanish boss should have three options when all fully fit.
However, it is just the Slovakian international, who has made the first team role his own since joining in January, who is fighting fit, with counterparts Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot both battling injury layoffs.
Benitez was quoted by the Chronicle as saying: “He (Darlow) has a little discomfort in his shoulder. We have to be careful with him.”
Elliot meanwhile is suffering from a back injury which is set to keep him out of action for up to three weeks, which means that 19-year-old Nathan Harker, who made his first senior appearance in the friendly with Royal Antwerp, could feature on the bench ahead of the injured pair in what is Benitez’s desperate attempt to rectify the solution.
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While all is fine at the moment, with Dubravka ready to keep his place in the first team against Huddersfield, Benitez will be on a knife edge for the next week and a half. The 29-year-old is out in Thailand for his country’s friendly match and an injury, or a sending off against the Terriers, could mean throwing young Harker firmly in the deep end for what could well be a relegation deciding clash. It is the last thing that Benitez wants and he will be praying for Darlow or Elliot to recover in time, just to have the insurance of a senior stopper behind Dubravka.
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