By Danny Wright
Daryl Murphy and Ciaran Clark look set to miss Newcastle’s upcoming back-to-back away trips to struggling Wigan and Burton, according to a report.
The Chronicle reports that the first-team duo will miss out but Grant Hanley is likely to return following a minor injury that saw him miss international duty with Scotland.
Clark suffered a medial ligament injury when he was forced off the pitch against Fulham earlier in March.
The ex-Aston Villa centre-back missed the clash with Birmingham but his injury appears to be worse than first thought.
Murphy will also miss the games on Saturday and Wednesday after he pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad with a calf injury.
Hanley, who has only made eight league appearances for Newcastle this season, played against Birmingham in his first Championship outing since early February but he isn’t disappointed to have picked up such little game time in his debut season at St. James’ Park.
“This season has been tough for me personally because I’ve not played as much as I would have liked to,” Hanley said, as quoted by the Chronicle.
“I’m not alone in that, but what I would say is that with the club, all the lads are pulling in the same direction. There’s no bitterness amongst the lads – everybody is fighting together. The competition for places is making everybody better players, and that’s a massive positive for us because our end goal is promotion.”
The matches against the two relegation-threatened sides could prove pivotal as to whether or not Newcastle will secure the Championship title.
The Toon are one point clear of second-place Brighton and seven ahead of third placed Huddersfield, although the Terriers do have a game in hand on the two sides that have ran away with the automatic promotion spots this season.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez is set to offer this senior duo new contracts with the club.