Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez addresses Freddie Woodman's situation, FA Cup reaction

Peter Beardsley
Peter Beardsley

Newcastle United will discover their FA Cup fourth round opponents tonight

Rafa Benitez's side beaten Luton Town 3-1 in Saturday's third-round tie at St James's Park.

The fourth-round draw, which will be broadcast live by BBC Two, is being held at 7.10pm.

United captain Jamaal Lascelles spoke after the Luton game, which was decided by two goals from Ayoze Perez and a strike from Jonjo Shelvey.

Manager Benitez also addressed the future of goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who made his debut against the League Two leaders.

Here's your daily briefing:

Jamaal Lascelles

Jamaal Lascelles

Up for the cup

Lascelles says he and his team-mates are up for the FA Cup, even though staying in the Premier League this season is the club's priority.

“Every game we play we want to win," said Lascelles, who is confident he will be fit for Saturday's home game against Swansea City despite limping out of the game with a groin problem.

“I thought the boys conducted themselves really well.

“We’re in a position where we do need to focus on the Premier League, but we knew we had a good chance (against Luton).

“We want to see how far we can get in the cup without taking our eye off the league for one minute. Obviously, you fancy your chances more in the cup the longer you’re in it.

“Your preparation has got to be the same whether it’s your first game in the cup or the final. You’ve got to have the same focus for every game.”

Dilemma

Woodman made his long-awaited debut against Luton.

And the 20-year-old overcame some nerves to help the club reach the fourth round.

Woodman has had a frustrating few months at the club, having been keen to go out on loan last summer.

Benitez spoke about the England Under-20 international's situation after watching him play against Luton.

Meanwhile, former United goalkeeper Tim Krul has revealed what Benitez told him when he reported back for pre-season training last summer.

In form

Perez has started the New Year with a bang.

The 24-year-old's double against Luton followed his match-winning strike against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on New Year's Day.

Perez's performances had come under scrutiny in the first half of the season.

But the forward underlined his importance to United with three goals in the space of six days.

“I think he will be delighted, because scoring in the league and scoring here in a good game – in the first half we did some good things – he will be really pleased,” said Benitez.

“It’s always positive for strikers to score and gain some confidence.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle winger Alex Gilliead has spoken about the decision to extend his loan at Bradford City.

The 21-year-old said: "I feel that being here is the best place for me to be at the moment.

"I'm enjoying playing my football, plus working with the gaffer and the lads. The fans have also taken to me really well.

"Playing virtually ninety minutes every week is massive for someone like me at my age."

Investigation

Newcastle Under-23s coach Peter Beardsley is due to meet club officials after finding himself at the centre of allegations of racism and bullying.

The club launched an investigation into the 56-year-old after a series of complaints were made, and he was due to attend a hearing with managing director Lee Charnley and head of safeguarding Steve Swinyard.

News of the meeting came after it emerged over the weekend that 22-year-old academy midfielder Yasin Ben El-Mhanni had made an allegation of bullying against Beardsley which will be dealt with later this week.

It is understood a series of El-Mhanni's team-mates have provided witness statements in support of his claim.

Meanwhile, the Under-23s home game against Middlesbrough at Whitley Park tonight (7pm kick-off) is subject to a 4pm pitch inspection.