Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez shares positive injury update

Newcastle player Mikel Merino in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

The Newcastle United pair are progressing well with their respective injuries.

Paul Dummett of Newcastle United walks off injured during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon...

Rafael Benitez has revealed to The Shields Gazette that Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett are nearing a return to action for Newcastle United.

Spanish midfielder Merino has missed Newcastle's last three games with a back injury, while left-back Dummett has been sidelined since the first day of the season with a hamstring problem.

The Magpies host Watford on Saturday and although Benitez did not reveal whether the pair will be involved, he did disclose that they are making positive strides in their return to the squad.

Newcastle player Mikel Merino in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

"Merino’s been doing part of the training session, and Dummett has done the full training session, so that’s positive news for us," he told The Shields Gazette.

Benitez's side have coped in the absence of Dummett, with Javier Manquillo, Chancel Mbemba and Jesus Gamez filling in that left-back role to good effect.

But the same can't be said for Merino, who has been sorely missed.

Newcastle player Mikel Merino (l) is challenged by Phillipe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St. James Park on October 1,...

United have lost all three games that the former Borussia Dortmund man has missed, since scoring the 86th-minute winner against Crystal Palace on October 21.

He has been arguably Newcastle's best player this season and the sooner they get him back, the better.

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