Rafael Benitez unsure of Chelsea-owned Kenedy future

Newcastle United v Southampton: match preview

Newcastle are hopeful Jonjo Shelvey can play a part after he returned to training but the midfielder faces a late fitness test ahead of the weekend's game.

NEWCASTLE boss Rafa Benitez will go all out to sign Kenedy on a permanent deal, but has no idea if Chelsea are willing to do business. If you draw you both get a point but they remain where they are as well.

"Many people have said to me that I've taken things in my stride, but I'm just trying to focus and enjoy the games".

Asked if the Southampton game had been a "must-win" fixture, Benitez said: "I don't know if I said that, but it was an important game to win".

"To win, is great; we were strong enough to control the game, now it is to the next game and we have to be strong for that one as well".

"Assistant Manager Carlos Compagnucci and Assistant First Team Coach Xavier Tamarit have also parted company with the club".

"We already had a bit of pace with (Christian) Atsu and (Jacob) Murphy and the ability and work rate of Ritchie, but Kenedy is good on the ball". The former Watford manager Marco Silva is among the possible candidates, although it is understood he is considering a return to Portugal this summer. However the team have struggled in front of goal, and he departs with Southampton one place and one point above the bottom three. "But he's professional and he has a lot of experience. His delivery, his crosses and set pieces - he is somebody who is different and he is a player playing with confidence now", Benitez was quoted as saying by the Chronicle Live.

Mauricio Pellegrino said he will "always be grateful" to Rafael Benítez but he can not afford to do his mentor any favours in this relegation six pointer. They are look to reach the last four of the competition for the first time since finishing as runners up to Arsenal in 2003.