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Wednesday 16
January

Newcastle United

Benitez has defensive options boosted

21st December 2018, 16:21 by Simon Barlow

Jonjo Shelvey is a doubt for Newcastle's Premier League home clash with bottom club Fulham but Federico Fernandez is back.

Fernandez is available following a calf injury and Benitez can also call on DeAndre Yedlin after he missed the win over Huddersfield Town last week through suspension.

The Magpies boss, who revealed that fellow defender Ciaran Clark is missing because of an ankle injury, cannot be sure of Shelvey's return just yet.

The England-capped midfielder has been missing for the past fortnight because of a thigh problem, which will be assessed closer to kick-off.

Ki Sung-yeung looks set to make his final Magpies appearance for a while as he will leave for the Asian Cup after the Fulham game.

The South Korean playmaker will head to Abu Dhabi on Boxing Day and could be unavailable until early February if his side makes the final.

But Benitez is hopeful Shelvey can step up and replace the 29-year-old who has emerged as a key figure in midfield of late.

He said: "Ki will play this game then afterwards he will go because he is going to training in Abu Dhabi on December 26.

"I wanted to keep him longer but no chance. He was a very good option but hopefully Jonjo comes back sooner rather than later."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Simon Barlow has a wealth of journalism experience and in-depth knowledge in a number of sports. As well as his extensive football knowledge, Simon is also well versed on cricket, tennis, American Football and cycling amongst others.

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