Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has stepped up his efforts to play a part in the club’s fight for Premier League survival after re-joining his team-mates in training.
The 26-year-old former England international was able to take some part in Wednesday morning’s session at the club’s warm-weather training camp in Spain as he works to shake off a thigh injury which has limited him to just eight league starts so far this season.
A statement on the club’s official website, www.nufc.co.uk, said: “The second day of Newcastle United’s Spanish training camp saw Jonjo Shelvey step up his return from a thigh injury.
“Midfield ace Shelvey joined in with some of Wednesday morning’s session and it is hoped he will continue to edge nearer to a return to action over the next few days – although he won’t be involved in Saturday’s friendly against CSKA Moscow.”
The form of Isaac Hayden and academy graduate Sean Longstaff in the absence of the injured Shelvey, Mohamed Diame and Ki Sung-yueng has been exemplary, although the former Liverpool man’s craft and guile will provide manager Rafael Benitez, who has been careful to nurse him through his latest setback, with a new and much-needed weapon for a crucial run-in.
Shelvey was joined on the training pitch by defender Paul Dummett, who is determined to make up for lost time after missing the last eight games with the latest recurrence of a hamstring problem which has troubled him for some time.
Asked how frustrating his spell on the sidelines has been, Dummett told NUFC TV: “Very frustrating because, as a football player, you want to be playing matches and being on the sidelines watching the players train and not being able to do it is so frustrating, especially a few times this season with the same injury.
“I’m hoping to do everything I can to try to put it behind me and stay fit as long as I can.
“It’s taken a little longer than I had hoped to get back fit, but we’ve taken our time to make sure that we can try to get it right this time.”
Benitez is putting his players through double training sessions in Spain after seeing them surrender two precious points in controversial circumstances as Wolves snatched a 1-1 draw at the death at Molineux on Monday evening.
New signings Miguel Almiron and Antonio Barreca are among them and could get a chance to further gel with their new colleagues in Saturday’s friendly ahead of the crucial showdown with bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield at St James’ Park a week later.
Italian Barreca was drafted in on loan from Monaco to provide cover at left-back, where Dummett was previously the club’s only senior specialist, and the Wales international has welcomed the competition.
He said: “It’s brilliant. The manager has stated in the past and all players are the same, everyone wants competition to be in the team, it brings out the best in players.”
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