Benitez tipped to make changes for Hatters clash

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has given his first indication of the kind of side that will take to the field against Luton Town in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid chief, who made nine changes during a 3-0 fourth round defeat at Oxford United last season, could take a similar stance this term as well.

With the Magpies climbing up to 13th in the Premier League table after a good Christmas period, when asked if the cup was a welcome distraction for him and his team, Benitez told the Shields Gazette: “Not really. We have two or three injuries, maybe they will need some time.

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“We don’t have too many players. Playing two games in a few days, we needed to change players (against Stoke).

“To play more games is not ideal. OK, we have to do it and we will do it.”

Benitez is without Aleksandar Mitrovic (back), Florian Lejeune (foot) and Jesus Gamez (ankle), while a number of other players have been carrying knocks too.