3 questions for Rafa Benitez ahead of Newcastle v Birmingham

Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez will face the media this afternoon ahead of Birmingham City's visit to St James's Park.

Newcastle United take on Gary Rowett's side looking to end a three-game losing run.

Benitez's Championship leaders were given a lift this week when the controversial red cards shown to Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett at the City Ground a week ago.

Shelvey and Dummett were dismissed by referee Stephen Martin for separate incidents involving Nottingham Forest's Henri Lansbury.

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The home side came from behind to beat nine-man Newcastle 2-1.

Here are five questions for Benitez at his pre-match media call:

A week on, what's your view of Henri Lansbury, Stephen Martin and the two red cards?

Rafa Benitez was critical of Henri Lansbury, the Championship's player of the month for November, in his post-match Press conference at the City Ground.

The club went on to successfully both red cards.

What is Benitez's view, a week on, on the events at the City Ground?

How have the players reacted to the City Ground defeat?

Yoan Gouffran this week revealed what Rafa Benitez told his players on the training pitch.

But how have his players reacted to the defeat?

And are there any injury problems from the game – and the 120 minutes many of them played in the EFL Cup defeat to Hull City three days earlier?

Is Jack Colback ready to return from the vision problem which has sidelined him in recent weeks?

Jack Colback has missed the club's last three games with an eye problem.

The midfielder – who took a blow to the head in October's EFL Cup win over Preston North End – has been training alone.

And is he yet ready to return for United's three pre-Christmas fixtures?

For updates from Rafa Benitez's media conference, follow writer Miles Starforth on Twitter