Rafa Benitez keen on reunion with Andros Townsend at Newcastle – if deal is right for club

Andros Townsend won an England recall while with Newcastle last season

Andros Townsend won an England recall while with Newcastle last season

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Rafa Benitez would like to be reunited with Andros Townsend at Newcastle United – but Crystal Palace are reluctant to loan the winger.

Townsend left St James’s Park last summer in a £13million deal.

But the 25-year-old has struggled for form at Selhurst Park and Sam Allardyce could be willing to sell the England international, who was signed by Alan Pardew, his predecessor.

Newcastle, however, are predominantly looking taking players on loan. The club could propose a half-season loan for Townsend with a view to a permanent deal.

United owner Mike Ashley – who has had a number of discussions about transfer policy with the club’s hierarchy – has reservations about spending big in this month’s transfer window.

Benitez is looking to strengthen his midfield for the second half of the Championship campaign.

And the Spaniard– who has not spoken to Ashley – has been working through a list of targets with managing director Lee Charnley.

“I was talking with Lee, and maybe he will give me a surprise in a few hours or a few days,” said Benitez after Wednesday night’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Birmingham City.

The Championship leaders take on basement club Rotherham United at St James’s Park tomorrow looking to strengthen their position at the top of the division.

Meanwhile, United’s postponed Championship fixture against second-placed Brighton has been rescheduled – but the date could be moved again.

The two clubs had been due to meet at the Amex Stadium on January 28.

But the match was postponed when Chris Hughton’s team reached the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Newcastle have since joined Brighton in the last 32 and a new date has been set for Tuesday, February 28 (7.45pm kick-off).

However, should either Brighton or Newcastle reach the fifth round, and be taken to a replay, the fixture will be rescheduled again.

United had lobbied for different dates given the potential for the date to be changed again and the fact it is followed by away games against Huddersfield Town and Reading.

Supporters attending all three games will have to travel more than 1,500 miles in seven days.

The club said on Twitter: “The club asked for alternative dates to be considered later in the season. However, this was rejected by the EFL and Brighton.”