Benitez delivers Newcastle key man fitness update ahead of Ipswich clash
By Will Butcher
Rafa Benitez has revealed that centre-back Chancel Mbemba will be fit to face Ipswich after recovering from an injury.
The Democratic Republic of Congo international had sustained a grass burn that was severe enough to keep him out of Newcastle’s fixtures against Brentford and Barnsley.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, Benitez was quoted by Evening Chronicle reporter Lee Ryder on his personal Twitter account as saying that Mbemba is available for selection.
Chancel Mbemba is now available again after a grass burn #nufc No fresh injuries.
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) October 21, 2016
Newcastle will maintain their position at the summit of the Championship table with a win against Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich, as they hope second placed Norwich slip up at home to Preston.
Former Anderlecht defender Mbemba will be hoping his return from injury will allow him to slot back into Benitez’s starting 11.
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However, with the form of Ireland international Ciaran Clark, Mbemba may find it difficult to do just that after the former Aston Villa star scored against Brentford and helped keep a clean sheet against Barnsley.
Newcastle’s number 18 signed for the Magpies in July 2015 from the Belgian giants for around £8million, and has since made 41 league and cup appearance for the Championship giants.
Along with Clark, Mbemba has had to do battle with captain Jamaal Lascelles and new signing Grant Hanley for a place in Benitez’s much-rotated side.
In other Newcastle team news, this star was named in the EFL Team of the Week after impressing against Brentford.