Magpies missing key defensive pair
Fabian Schar and Jamaal Lascelles are both unavailable for Newcastle's Premier League clash at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Switzerland international Schar picked up his 10th booking of the season against Everton last time out and he starts a two-game suspension while captain Lascelles is struggling with the knee issue that forced him off in that 3-2 win over the Toffees.
Midfielder Sean Longstaff and goalkeeper Rob Elliot are also sidelined but Republic of Ireland international Ciaran Clark has recovered from the knee injury he sustained in the FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers back in January.
Discussing the fitness of his squad, Benitez, who revealed Federico Fernandez is in line for more opportunities, said: "Longstaff and Elliot are unavailable. Lascelles is feeling his knee so we won't take any risks – we'll assess him in two or three days to see how he reacts. But Clark is available so we have lost one, but we have another one available.
"Fernandez has more chances now. He was our best defender at the beginning of the season. After that he was injured and the team was doing well, so he had to wait. But he has been training well and hopefully he will be ready."
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.