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More frustration for Benitez as unwelcome Newcastle reports emerge

Newcastle United supporters have been pretty quiet in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their side lose 2-0 at Champions League chasing Liverpool on Saturday to fall a place closer to the Premier League’s bottom three.

Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the Merseysiders unbeaten in their previous four league outings, which included their impressive 1-0 success over Manchester United at St James’ Park. Yet the Magpies weren’t able to pull off another famous scalp at the weekend as goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane secured a comfortable victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side, a result which instigated Newcastle’s fall to 16th place in the Premier League table, yet they remain two points clear of the relegation zone.

Consequently, there have been many frustrated Magpies fans in the Tavern in recent times, and their mood is unlikely to improve if a recent report from The Newcastle Chronicle is anything to go by, which suggests that striker Islam Slimani is ‘highly unlikely’ to feature for the club against Southampton on Saturday.

The 29-year-old made the move to St James’ Park on the final day of the winter window on loan from fellow top-flight side Leicester City, but he has yet to make an appearance for the Magpies due to an ongoing thigh problem, one he reportedly arrived at Newcastle with.

And recent reports suggest that the Magpies faithful will have to wait a little longer to see Slimani don the black and white stripes, as he is reportedly ‘highly unlikely’ to be available for the North East giants this weekend when they host fellow strugglers Southampton at St James’ Park.

And with midfielder Jonjo Shelvey also reportedly ‘unlikely’ to feature on Saturday, this unwelcome news is sure to further frustrate Benitez ahead of his side’s crucial clash with the Saints.

Landlord’s verdict: Newcastle desperately needed a striker in the last knockings of the January transfer window to bolster their ranks, but Islam Slimani has yet to make his debut for the club little under five weeks on from his arrival.

The 29-year-old has been suffering from a thigh problem and reportedly suffered a setback a few weeks ago, and reports suggest that he is ‘highly unlikely’ to be fit for this weekend’s crunch clash with Southampton at St James’ Park.

And this news is only likely to further frustrate manager Rafa Benitez, whose side head into Saturday’s encounter just two points above the bottom three, and thus in need of all three points to somewhat ease their relegation fears.

But they look like they’ll have to do it without Slimani.

Newcastle fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!

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