Ritchie, Atsu expected to be fit for Newcastle United’s clash at St Mary’s

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed that Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu are expected to be fit for the club’s Premier League match against Southampton a week on Sunday, reports the Chronicle.

What’s the latest?

Question marks were raised when Ritchie and Atsu were forced to withdraw from international duty with Scotland and Ghana respectively.

Ritchie is said to have been struggling with a thigh injury following last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, while Atsu has a knee problem.

Despite not being deemed fit enough for their nations, the duo are likely to be available for selection in nine days’ time when the team take on Southampton on the South Coast.

What’s the bad news?

The Chronicle claims that Atsu has been delaying possible surgery on his knee problem by having injections to make sure that he can play.

The publication states that if the midfielder were to go under the knife, then he would be facing a three-month layoff.

That is concerning news for the club given that it is likely at some point that Atsu will require the operation.

The 25-year-old has shown significant improvement this season after joining the club on a permanent basis from Chelsea.

So far, the Ghanaian has scored one goal and produced one assist in seven Premier League appearances.