Rafael Benitez claims he still hasn't decided who replaces Matt Ritchie tonight

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St. James Park on December 1, 2018 in Newcastle upon...

Newcastle United are without winger Matt Ritchie tonight.

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St. James Park on December 1, 2018 in Newcastle upon...

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has told The Chronicle that he hasn't decided who will replace Matt Ritchie in the team tonight – and will only make his choice 90 minutes before kick off.

The Magpies take on Everton at Goodison Park this evening, and will be looking to bounce back from Saturday's 3-0 thumping at the hands of West Ham United.

 

That defeat brought an end to Newcastle's three-game winning run, and they will be hoping to get back on track in a tricky away game tonight.

One of the problems Newcastle have tonight is that winger Ritchie is out of the game, as he is suspended for picking up five yellow cards this season.

The 29-year-old has been a key part of the Newcastle side this season, grabbing two assists in 13 Premier League games games, but will be unavailable tonight.

Matt Ritchie of Newcastle United (11) arrives for the Premier League Match between Newcastle Unite and West Ham United on December 1, 2018, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Benitez is likely to call upon either Jacob Murphy or Christian Atsu to replace the Scotland international, but it's unclear just who will be given the nod on Merseyside.

Benitez has now revealed that he doesn't know who will play yet, and will only make his decision 90 minutes before kick off, meaning the player in question will learn his fate at 6:15pm this evening.

"We have different options to replace him,” said Benitez on Ritchie. “We will decide 90 mins before the game,” he added.

Matt Ritchie of Newcastle United in action during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on September 22, 2018 in London, England, United...

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