Nottingham Forest v Newcastle Utd: Why Rafa Benitez is keeping his distance from his Magpie players

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benitez has had to put himself in quarantine ahead of Newcastle United’s visit to the City Ground.

Benitez has been suffering from a cold ahead of the televised Championship fixture against Nottingham Forest.

We haven’t lost any players, but we haven’t recovered anyone else in time.

Rafa Benitez

United’s manager took training as normal outside for the game, but he has told his players and coaching staff to keep their distance inside the club’s Benton HQ.

Asked if he had told his squad to keep their distance, he said: “Especially my staff, because yesterday they were saying ‘stay there!”.

“The players, you go outside and you are not too close. It’s just congestion.”

Benitez reported no fresh injury concerns in the wake of Tuesday night’s EFL Cup defeat to Hull City.

“No, it’s still the same,” said Benitez. “We have exactly the same equation.

“We haven’t lost any players, but we haven’t recovered anyone else in time.”

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot is set for a run-out with the Under-23s, while midfielder Jack Colback (eye) and Grant Hanley (shin) won’t be available against Forest.

“I was talking with Elliot about keeping pushing and then maybe something with the reserves,” said Benitez.

“Colback has been training, but still we don’t want to push him, and Hanley is still out.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Cheick Tiote is in the Benitez’s squad for the Forest game.

“He will be with us and could be involved, but that doesn’t mean he will,” said Benitez. “At the moment he’s our player, everyone keeps asking if he’s still our player but there is still no offer on the table. He’s training well and is a good pro.”