Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez's injury update, Andros Townsend speaks out

Daryl Murphy
Daryl Murphy

Rafa Benitez will face the media today ahead of Newcastle United's game against Wigan Athletic.

Benitez's side lead the Championship by a point ahead of tomorrow afternoon's match at St James's Park.

And United's manager will be asked about a clutch of injured players – and speculation linking him with the West Ham United job.

Here's your daily briefing:

Who's in? Who's out?

Daryl Murphy, Grant Hanley and Ciaran Clark were all unable to play for their countries during the international break because of injuries.

Murphy (calf) and Clark (knee) had to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad, while Hanley (ankle) had to withdraw from Scotland's party.

Benitez will also give an update on DeAndre Yedlin, who has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a thigh problem.

Town and out

Andros Townsend has spoken about his decision to leave Newcastle last summer.

The winger quit the club in the wake of relegation for the sake of his England career.

Now at relegation-threatened Crystal Palace, Townsend has given an in-depth interview to The Daily Telegraph.

"I went to Newcastle and said ‘I want to stay here for a few years’, but unfortunately that didn’t work out and I had to move to stay in the Premier League," said the 25-year-old.

Townsend, however, didn't speak about United's attempts to re-sign him in January.

Coming home

There'll be one Geordie at St James's Park tomorrow who'll be desperate for a Wigan win.

Athletic defender Dan Burn was born in Blyth.

And the 24-year-old has been speaking to the Gazette ahead of the game.

Burn said: “I’ve been waiting all season for the trip to Newcastle – it’s the first one I looked for on the fixture list!

“Being a Geordie, it’ll be good to go back home, and we’re all really looking forward to it.

“I was a massive Newcastle fan as a kid. I used to have a season ticket and go along with my dad – me and my brother used to go to half the games each with him.

“My favourite game was when we beat Sunderland 5-1 – that was an unbelievable feeling.

"Although I’ve been a professional footballer for a number of years, I’ve never actually played at St James’ Park before. Every time I’ve faced them, it’s always been on home soil.”