Newcastle United briefing: Improved Jacob Murphy bid, Rafa Benitez on Checkatrade Trophy

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez is preparing his Newcastle United side for their pre-season opener at Tynecastle.

Benitez had hoped for a transfer breakthrough ahead of tomorrow night's friendly against Heart of Midlothian.

But the club is not expected to add to its squad in the next 24 hours.

Here's your daily briefing:

High stakes

Newcastle are set to return with an improved bid for Norwich City's Jacob Murphy.

Jacob Murphy

Jacob Murphy

The club has already had an £8million offer for the winger rejected by the Championship club.

And United are set to test Norwich's resolve to hold on to the 22-year-old, who is understood to be keen on a move to St James's Park.

Big draw

Newcastle were yesterday drawn with Oldham Athletic, Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra in the Checkatrade Trophy.

The club didn't enter an Under-21 side into competition last season.

But this year it took up an invitation along with a number of other Premier League and Championship clubs.

And Benitez has been talking about the tournament and youth development at St James's Park.

Asked about the trophy, he said: "You can bring more players from abroad. Normally, if you bring players from abroad, they have to be better.

“So for the young lads, for the homegrown boys, it’s always more difficult to have an opportunity in the first team."

Back in black

Newcastle last night launched their new all-black kit.

The Puma strip will go on sale on July 18.

Midfielder Isaac Hayden said:

Isaac Hayden, said: “I’m buzzing with the new kit designed by Puma, the all black look is class.

"It’s gone down well with the lads in the dressing room.

“It’s great to be back in the Premier League, this is where this club belongs, I can’t wait to get started.”