Rafa Benitez reacts to EFL Cup ticket farce
Rafa Benitez has reacted to the ticket farce which threatens to overshadow Newcastle United's EFL Cup quarter-final against Hull City.
The club has been given just 2,474 tickets for Tuesday night's tie at the KCOM Stadium.
And the allocation, around 10% of the ground's capacity, was quickly snapped up by supporters on Tyneside.
Thousands more fans will watch a beam back of the game at St James's Park.
Newcastle's request for a larger allocation was turned down by Hull, who wanted to "maximise" the home support inside the stadium.
However, ticket sales on Humberside have been sluggish, and the ground could only be half-full for the game.
And United manager Rafa Benitez said: "It's a pity our fans don't have more tickets. It would be nice to have more people in stadium."
Hull fans have stayed away this season in protest at the club's owners.
Manager Mike Phelan said: “We can try to encourage them as much as we can to come into the ground to support the players who are trying.
“We are in the big league, the Premier League. I would have thought that was a nice incentive to get involved.
“But they have their reasons, and I can’t influence those decisions they make not to come.
“All I can ask for is full backing from the ones that sit on those seats and that they get behind the players.
“I’m sure they will because we’ve had no real issue with that. No one wants to see empty seats, but that’s where we’re at the moment.
“We need to our job on the football field to encourage more to come back, but it goes a little bit deeper than just the football they see.”
Follow our live blog from this afternoon's home game against Blackburn Rovers here