Date: 1st February 2017 at 11:48pm
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Rafa Benitez has admitted that he is surprised by Newcastle’s transfer market struggles.

For the whole of January talks were on going with Crystal Palace to take Andros Townsend back to St James’ Park.

Even on Tuesday morning confident noises were being heard about the deal going through with the player keen to pull on a black and white jersey.

A game of brinkmanship between the two clubs ended with Townsend on the bench for Palace and Benitez without the one player he felt would really push home his side’s promotion bid.

After the draw with QPR the Newcastle boss admitted to The Chronicle: “Am I surprised there were no signings? Yes. We knew what we needed, and we knew what we have. I was in communication with Lee (Charnley) all the time, so I know more or less what we have done. Still, I don’t know what happened.”

Benitez will have to put those frustrations behind him and ensure that the gap to Reading and Leeds isn’t reduced any further.

With 18 matches left to play a four point advantage is easily turned around with all of the expectations on Benitez to deliver automatic promotion.

Dropping into the play-off places would increase the pressure on the Newcastle boss and also increase his regrets over the club’s failure to deliver his January transfer targets.

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