Newcastle United v Birmingham City

Newcastle United v Birmingham City

Newcastle United v Birmingham City

What had looked to be a hard move to St James' Park for the 33-year-old has turned around in the space of a few days as Murphy has scored two goals in two games for Newcastle and is nearly certain to start in tomorrow's FA Cup replay at home to Birmingham City.

Daryl Murphy has scored for Newcastle in his last two appearances.

Benitez salutes Murphy's influence during Newcastle's time of need, with strikers Dwight Gayle and Aleksandr Mitrovic now sidelined through injury.

League One Oxford United await the winners of the tie in round four and Benitez expressed his delight at fans showing such an interest in the FA Cup this season.

The 19-year-old has been involved in the first-team picture before and made the bench in the Premier League against West Brom, but is still awaiting his first appearance.

Murphy is mobbed by his team-mates after he bagged the winning goal away to Brentford. "If we can't then we can't, but we have to try with the players who are ready and fit to play".

"We have to protect the team, so I can't risk any player that has a knock or a problem".

Benitez said: "We're still waiting for something concrete".

"I don't care which strikers score more or less".

Among the quiet of transfer news, Benitez wants to make sure that he avoids the same mistakes as his predecessors as he said: "The ideal situation would be to get the right players, not just to get players".

"I said at the beginning doing that, we are doing really well, so I think it is important to understand that it is a way to work that has been successful and it's the best way possible now for us".

But it was the league leaders who advanced into the fourth round of the FA Cup, setting up a visit to League One outfit Oxford United later this month, after Newcastle fought off Birmingham 1-0 after extra-time - on Federation Internationale de Football Association 17 anyway.

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