Rafa Benitez's message to Newcastle's travelling fans

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez is frustrated that Newcastle United won't be backed by more fans at Hillsborough.

The club quickly sold out its 3,100-ticket allocation for tomorrow evening's televised game against Sheffield Wednesday.

League leaders Newcastle were backed by 5,300 supporters the last time they visited Hillsborough for a Championship game on Boxing Day 2009, when the two sides drew 2-2.

United, roared on by almost 6,000 fans away to Barnsley and Preston North End, have had large followings away from home this season.

And manager Benitez said: "If we don’t have 6,000 like other games, hopefully they can still help the team as they have done all season. Three thousand is still really good, and hopefully they will make a difference.

"It’s a pity there can’t be more."

Hillsborough has a capacity of almost 40,000 and Newcastle's supporters will be housed in the upper tier of the Leppings Lane end.

Meanwhile, Benitez is wary of sixth-placed Wednesday, who beat United 1-0 on Boxing Day.

"They are a good team and know what to do," he said. "Teams with experience in the Championship know what is needed and they know each other really well.

"They were nearly there last season and, when you have the same structure and the same players.

"They know what you have to do to get points in this division. It will be tough and difficult, especially now they are in a play-off position. Like a lot of teams, they are fighting for their target."