Date: 9th November 2017 at 8:32am
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It’s no secret that we went into this season’s premier league campaign light as Rafa Benitez banged the drum about it often enough in the Summer.

With eleven league games realistically being left before any real dealings can be done in the next transfer window, the squad is going to be pushed to it’s limit.

These eleven games which end with an away game at Stoke on New Year’s Day, also see the period of time as another testing factor with what is around 30% of our seasons fixtures being played in a season time frame percentage of around 20% of the whole thing.

I agree that the injury suite may not have the revolving door or country club feel that existed in the days of Alan Pardew and co but just recently to go with the changing weather conditions, it’s slowly starting to be used again.

Whilst long term damaged Paul Dummett has recently vacated the area to continue his rehab out on the training pitch, Mikel Merino has taken his place there with an increasingly worrying back injury. Initial reports by Rafa said he was looking like he could be out a couple of weeks or so but today has unconfirmed stories from Spanish social media that it will be more like six or eight weeks.

Obviously we’ll find out as the time passes but joining Merino in there could be Christian Atsu with an unspecified issue.

I thought he just looked unfit last week in the game against Bournemouth before he was substituted for what was said to be an injury. His departure on international duty then seemed to scupper these thoughts before he then missed a chunk of training yesterday, so he’s a mystery at the minute.

Also with Jack Colback in the huffy room and Aleksandar Mitrovic who looks like leaving in January due to not being favoured at all, the squad is getting light.

Any more injuries in what is going to be a hectic period ahead could cause tensions if the form struggles or there’s no real transfer kitty ahead.