Saturday 19

Newcastle United

Magpies set for cup changes

4th January 2019, 17:10 by Aidan Perkins

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is likely to make plenty of changes for his side's home FA Cup third-round tie with Blackburn on Saturday.

With the Magpies sitting just two points clear of the top-flight relegation zone after Wednesday night's 2-0 home defeat by Manchester United, Benitez is set to rest players against Rovers, with staying up this season the priority.

Midfielder Mohamed Diame is out due to a hip injury, while Federico Fernandez (side strain) and Karl Darlow (elbow) are also injured and striker Yoshinori Muto is on international duty with Japan.

Javier Manquillo, Joselu and Florian Lejeune are among those in contention to start as Benitez turns to his fringe players, while some youngsters from the Under-23 side are likely to be promoted to the matchday squad.

Meanwhile, Benitez has admitted he's as frustrated as the club's fans, who have sent an open letter to owner Mike Ashley begging him to back his manager during the January transfer window.

Benitez said: "What I would say to everyone is that when I decided to come, it was because of the potential of the club and everything.

"I like to have a project and then think about how ambitious we can be. Try to be in the top 10, that was the first idea, so I understand how they feel.

"At the same time, I have to do the best for the team, the best that I can to do my job to be sure that we stay up and have more chances to do well in the future."

Asked if Newcastle, who have not made it past the fourth round of the FA Cup since 2006, could fulfil their potential this season, he added: "This season? Very difficult. What we have to do is be sure we reach our potential, the potential that we can reach this season, not the potential that I hoped or that I was expecting we could reach."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.

More Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Benitez keeps calm ahead of Cardiff visit

18th January 2019, 19:34

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez says the visit of Cardiff on Saturday is important but will not define his side's season.

Newcastle United

Defensive duo face late tests

18th January 2019, 18:29

Newcastle duo Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark will need to come through late fitness tests to feature against Cardiff.

Newcastle United

Magpies reignite Sturridge interest

17th January 2019, 16:35

Newcastle are reportedly ready to reignite their interest in Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge after they missed out in the summer.

Newcastle United

Longstaff reveals first-team hopes

17th January 2019, 13:26

Sean Longstaff is hopeful of remaining in Newcastle's first team after opening his goal account in the FA Cup win at Blackburn.

Newcastle United

Newcastle sweat on injured stars

16th January 2019, 08:29

Newcastle are sweating on the fitness of Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles, who picked up injuries in the win at Blackburn.

Newcastle United

Rafa hails character as Toon go through

16th January 2019, 01:41

Rafael Benitez hailed the character of his Newcastle players after their 4-2 extra-time victory over Blackburn in the FA Cup.

Recent Sport Headlines

Huddersfield Town

Smith looks forward as Terriers face the music without Wagner

19th January 2019, 12:08

Huddersfield skipper Tommy Smith has paid tribute to David Wagner but insisted none of his team-mates are feeling sorry for themselves.


Stephen Humphrys completes move to Southend

19th January 2019, 11:57

Southend manager Chris Powell expects Stephen Humphrys to settle down and find his best form after completing a move from Fulham.


Cano stuns world champion Linares

19th January 2019, 11:52

Pablo Cesar Cano claimed a shock victory over three-weight world champion Jorge Linares in New York on Friday.

Cardiff City

Striker has Cardiff medical

19th January 2019, 11:51

Cardiff are closer to making Emiliano Sala their record signing after the Nantes striker underwent his medical on Friday.

West Ham United

Wilshere to return next month

19th January 2019, 11:51

According to manager Manuel Pellegrini, Jack Wilshere could be back in action for West Ham as early as the start of next month.


Serbian star seals spot in last 16

19th January 2019, 11:45

Novak Djokovic has booked his place in the last 16 of the Australian Open courtesy of a victory over Denis Shapovalov.


Trent Alexander-Arnold signs five-year contract at Liverpool

19th January 2019, 11:43

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has expressed his delight at signing a new long-term contract with the club.


Fulham taking nothing for granted as they test Tottenham without Harry Kane

19th January 2019, 11:37

Fulham will be the first team to test Tottenham's mettle without Harry Kane, but manager Claudio Ranieri is taking nothing for granted.