Rafa Benitez keeps close eye on returning Massadio Haidara at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez watched Massadio Haidara continue his comeback from injury this afternoon.

Haidara played just over an hour of the club's 2-0 Central League Cup defeat to Sheffield United.

The 23-year-old – who hasn't played a first-team game since October last year – is edging closer to full fitness following knee surgery.

United manager Benitez and his coaching team watched the fixture, which was played at the club's Academy.

And they saw Haidara come through the fixture with no problems.

Speaking earlier this month, Haidara said: "It's been a lot of hard work for eight months. I worked hard, and now I'm just enjoying playing.

"I'll take it step by step until I'm fit for the first team."

Jordan Hallam put the visitors ahead in the first half, and Callum Semple added a second in midway through the second half.

Peter Beardsley's side were wasteful with possession and struggled to deliver a telling final ball into the box.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Woodman, Newberry, Haidara (Holmes, 67), Williams, Findlay, Satka, Gibson, Barlaser, Charman, S Longstaff, Roberts.