By Russell Edge
Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino is set to start in the club’s clash v Watford on Saturday after recovering from his injury layoff, according to a top journalist.
Craig Hope, the north east football correspondent for the Daily Mail, has revealed on his personal Twitter account that the Spaniard is available after missing the last three Newcastle games with a back injury, and is set to go straight into the starting line up against the Hornets.
Mikel Merino will be available for NUFC against Watford tomorrow & is likely to start.
— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) November 24, 2017
It comes after manager Rafael Benitez revealed that the midfielder was back in the squad for the match on Friday.
The midfielder is likely to step up in place of fellow midfielder Isaac Hayden, who is forced to miss out on Saturday’s game as a result of a suspension, after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 4-1 defeat to Manchester United a week ago.
Merino, who originally joined the Magpies on a year-long loan deal from German giants Borussia Dortmund, has impressed on Tyneside with his performances in the centre of the park, enough to convince the club to turn his temporary deal into a permanent one, signing him up to a five year deal.
He appeared in every one of the club’s opening nine league fixtures, starting six of them, while he scored his first goal in his last outing, heading home a late winner in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace over a month ago, and the Toon Army will be excited about getting to see the 21-year-old return to action.
In other Newcastle United news, the club are looking to get rid of this £40,000-a-week figure.