By Will Butcher
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has opted to leave out senior duo Mohamed Diame and Chancel Mbemba on Tuesday night against Barnsley, according to a reliable journalist.
The duo have been left out of the matchday squad to face Paul Heckingbottom’s side in the Championship clash.
Benitez overlooked both players for the Newcastle starting XI in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Brentford, although Diame did make a substitute appearance.
Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie revealed on his personal Twitter account that the Toon duo would be missing from the squad on Tuesday, but captain Jamaal Lascelles will feature despite suffering from illness.
Lascelles suffered some sickness over the weekend but he's fine for Barnsley. Ritchie returns to the squad; Mbemba & Diame still missing.
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) October 17, 2016
Senegal international Diame came off the bench for the Toon on Saturday, after being replaced by Spaniard Ayoze Perez whereas centre back Mbemba was left in the dark.
Mbemba is likely to be replaced once again by Ireland international Ciaran Clark on Tuesday night, after the former Aston Villa defender and summer signing opened the deadlock against Brentford on Saturday to score his second goal of the season.
Former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss Benitez could see his side move to the top of the table, after Huddersfield dropped points on Sunday by losing to Sheffield Wednesday.
Alex Neil’s side currently remain top of the Championship, but an eighth league win in 12 Championship games could see Benitez’s side move to the summit of England’s second tier.
In other Newcastle team news, Benitez has explained why Diame was overlooked against Brentford.