Karl Darlow looks pretty safe between the sticks right now, but for how much longer?
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed to The Chronicle that goalkeeper Rob Elliot will not be fit to return against Hull City in Tuesday’s EFL Cup clash but insists he will be back in action in the foreseeable future.
The Republic of Ireland international was finally establishing himself between the sticks at St James’ Park when a cruel knee injury cut short his hitherto impressive campaign in March and denied him a deserved place in his country’s Euro 2016 squad.
Elliot is yet to feature for the Magpies since although he is slowly edging towards full fitness, but faces a difficult task in ousting Karl Darlow as Newcastle’s current number one.
The goalkeeper admitted as much in an interview with The Chronicle earlier this month, so cup competitions could present the ideal opportunity for the 30-year-old to be eased back into action.
Nonetheless, Benitez says that Elliott will not make his long-awaited return against Mike Phelan’s Premier League strugglers at the KCom Stadium but insists that his spell on the sidelines is coming to an end.
“Elliot is nearly there, but not yet. We don’t have to take any risks,” the Spaniard told The Chronicle.
However, Benitez confirmed that Belgian international Matz Sels could stand to benefit from Newcastle’s all-too-rare cup run.
The 24-year-old hasn’t featured for over a month after coming under pressure from Newcastle supporters following a series of high-profile errors and a perceived inability to adapt to the physical nature of the English game.
But Benitez hinted that he may be given a chance to win back the fans trust against Hull after returning from the international break in good spirits.
“I will say he is training well. The national team has been positive for him, because he has gone there when he has not been playing. He was training and motivated.
“We’re working really hard with the keepers.”