Double boost for Newcastle ahead of relegation run-in
Vurnon Anita is ready to give Rafa Benitez a lift ahead of Newcastle United's visit to Villa Park '“ by declaring himself fit.
And in a further potential boost for the Magpies, Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele could miss the last game of the season against Newcastle after being hit with an FA charge.
Anita left the field late in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace with a muscle problem.
But United manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful that the makeshift right-back will be available for Saturday’s must-win Premier League game against relegated Aston Villa.
Relegation-threatened Newcastle know a win at Villa Park could put their destiny back into their own hands – if Chelsea beat Sunderland on Wearside.
Anita – who scored against Manchester City last month – has impressed in defence in the absence through injury of Daryl Janmaat.
Janmaat suffered hand and groin injuries in last month’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton.
The 26-year-old, having recovered from the groin problem which forced him off at the St Mary’s Stadium, is cleared to make a tentative return to full training.
But a competitive playing return for Janmaat before the end of the season is complicated by the need to wear a cast to protect the hand he fractured punching a door after the game.
Janmaat had lashed out in frustration during heated post-match exchanges.
The Holland international, according to Benitez, would also need to be cleared to play by the club’s doctor and the surgeon who operated on him.
However, Janmaat is willing to take the risk and play – even though is hand is not fully healed.
Benitez said: “He’s ready to take the risk if he has to do it with his hand.”
Meanwhile, Dembele has been hit with a Football Association charge after clashing with Chelsea’s Diego Costa in Monday night’s fiery London derby which saw Spurs’ title hopes ended by a 2-2 draw.
A FA statement said: “Mousa Dembele has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
“The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was involved in an incident with Chelsea’s Diego Costa near the end of the first half.
“Further, it is alleged the player’s behaviour constituted violent conduct in circumstances where the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient.
“The player has until 6pm on Thursday 5 May 2016 to respond to the charge.”
Both Chelsea and Spurs have also been charged for three breaches of FA Rule E20 for failing to control their players and/or officials.