Rafa Benitez has a message for Newcastle United fans after they cancel boycott

Rafa Benitez admits he is pleased Newcastle fans have cancelled their fan boycott of the clash with Wolves.

Geordie fans planned a stay-away in front of the Sky TV cameras in a bid to pressure owner Mike Ashley into selling up.

Ashley claimed this week he is in positive talks with several potential buyers, including ex Man U chief exec Peter Kenyon.

There was also a muted response to an 11th minute walk-in demo last weekend that coincided with a West Ham goal.

Benitez wants fans to concentrate on roaring his team on during a vital period of fixtures when Newcastle will expect to win points.

He said: “It is positive because they understand the team needs support, they understand that with everyone behind the team it will be better for the long term.

“We will need them from now until the end of the season. It has to be good. “I have to say thank you to the fans because my message has been very clear all this time: this group of players, they deserve support.

Rafa Benitez was happy with the midweek draw at Everton, and has a near fully fit squad
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

“You talk about 52,000 or what ever number of fans of Newcastle – five million or six million – not all of them will have the same opinion.

“The way for them to express themselves is in this way or that way, but in the end what we want is to be sure they’re behind the team.

“These players show in the Championship, last year and this year, that they care and the last example is in the game against Everton. In the last minute, everybody was working so hard trying to get a result, I think they deserve the support, and the fans appreciate that.

“We will be even more focused on not wasting too much time with these questions and answers, and if it is affecting the team or not.”

Benitez says he has “no new news” on the takeover and insists it is “business as usual” trying to get points to keep the club away from the relegation zone.

Jonjo Shelvey is waiting for a recall to Newcastle United’s midfield
(Image: Reuters)

Fabian Shar is suspended for Sunday’s match, and Kenedy and Paul Dummett are pushing for a return. Jonjo Shelvey could start on the bench for a third game after his injury and Benitez says has to work hard to earn a recall.

He added: “He has to do exactly the same that Ki had to do when he was not playing, or Diame. Just keep working hard, which he is doing already.

“Sometimes, when a player is doing well, they have wait. Imagine that I don’t play Ki now, and then you say ‘why don’t you play Ki, he was doing so well?’.

“So always it’s the same, you have 11 players and the others have to keep working hard. “His attitude is been good. He’s training really well. This group of players, the majority of them, almost every day – I will not say every single day all of them – they train well, so that is fine.”

Team: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Diame, Ki, Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy, Rondon

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