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Newcastle boss Benitez fuming by Hull decision to limit number of Toon fans

By Damian Spellman

Published 29/11/2016

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez

Rafael Benitez has bemoaned Hull's decision not to increase Newcastle's ticket allocation as the Magpies attempt to reach a first cup semi-final since 2005.

The Sky Bet Championship leaders travel to the KCOM Stadium this evening for their EFL Cup quarter-final clash with their Premier League opponents having seen a request for more tickets rejected despite the likelihood that the 25,586-capacity ground will be barely half full.

Benitez, whose team will be backed by a travelling support of just 2,474 when the club could have sold that allocation several times over, said: "I would like to see as many of our fans as we can have there, but I can't control the policy they decide.

"Football now with a lot of TV has to be more for the fans going to the stadium, enjoying it and creating an atmosphere that will be good for the game.

"When you have an opportunity to have a lot of fans there at the stadium and you cannot do it, it's not normal.

"You see half the stadiums empty in Spain or 20 per cent occupied in Italy, and here when you have an opportunity and you don't do that. But you can do nothing."

The Magpies will be looking to reach the last four in a major competition for the first time since they lost 4-1 to Manchester United in the FA Cup in April 2005 and, while promotion back to the top flight remains the priority, Benitez is aware of the excitement on Tyneside.

He said: "It is a motivation for us to play against a Premier League team.

"They are at home, so they have an advantage, but we need to show our levels and try to reach the semi-final.

"There are a lot of games during the season and we know we have to try to win every game."

Benitez will be without full-back Jesus Gamez, who may yet have to undergo surgery after damaging his collarbone in Saturday's 1-0 league defeat by Blackburn.

Meanwhile, Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback has been fined £25,000 after admitting a Football Association misconduct charge for betting.

Colback was charged with a breach of regulations introduced in 2014 which prevent players and coaches from placing bets on any football activity worldwide.

Colback missed Saturday's game with an eye problem and it remains to be seen whether or not he returns to action tonight.

Belfast Telegraph

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