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Feb 11, 2018 at 2.15pm UK at ​St James' Park
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Rafael Benitez to make late call on Islam Slimani fitness

Benitez to make late call on Islam Slimani
© SilverHub
Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez is unwilling to rush back Islam Slimani from a thigh injury and will make a late decision on whether the striker can play on Sunday.

Rafael Benitez has revealed that he will wait until the eve of the game before deciding whether Islam Slimani is fit enough to make his Newcastle United debut against Manchester United.

The 29-year-old, who arrived on loan from top-flight rivals Leicester City on deadline day last week, has yet to feature for the Magpies due to a thigh complaint.

Despite paying a hefty fee to take Slimani for the rest of the season, rumoured to be worth around £2m in total, Benitez insists that he will not rush the Algeria international back to fitness.

"We have to see about him, we will see how he feels tomorrow and how fit he is," he told reporters ahead of Sunday afternoon's home match against the Red Devils. "I am not desperate, I am desperate to see all the players fit to give me problems in terms of options.

"He was part of the training session on Thursday and part of a session today in the gym, so we will see tomorrow what he is like."

Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark are expected to be available for selection after recovering from knocks, meanwhile, and Martin Dubravka is in line to replace Karl Darlow for his debut in goal.


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Rafael Benitez gives instructions during the Premier League game between Arsenal and Newcastle United on December 16, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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