Mbemba boost for Newcastle – as he could be back for Stoke trip

Chancel Mbemba

Chancel Mbemba

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Chancel Mbemba’s injury is not as bad as Newcastle United first feared.

The defender suffered an ankle problem in the recent defeat to Everton, and head coach Steve McClaren had feared that Mbemba would miss a number of games.

However, after seeing two specialists, Newcastle are hopeful that Mbemba could be back for the away game against Stoke City on March 2 – or for the home fixture against Bournemouth three days later.

“From our reports, Chancel could be fit for the Stoke game, or certainly the Bournemouth game after that,” said McClaren, whose relegation-threatened side take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening.

“That’s a bit of a plus for it. He went to London for a second opinion, and then Belgium. The consensus is that with the right treatment, he could be fit in about a month.”

Paul Dummett, Mbemba’s defensive colleague, suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem at Goodison Park.

And McClaren and his medical staff, mindful that he had a spell out with a hamstring injury late last season, have pencilled him in to return to training next week.

“Because of the problems Dummett had last season with his hamstring, we have to be a bit wary with him,” said McClaren.

“It’s the same thing again, so we’re just being a bit cautious to make sure everything is put right.

“He missed a lot of games towards the end of last season, and we don’t want that again. He’ll be starting to train next week.”