Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed Aleksandar Mitrovic has returned to training following a month long absence due to a back injury, however he will reportedly not be a member of the matchday squad who will travel to face Manchester City on Saturday. 

The 23-year-old has been eager to jump ships after struggling to cement a regular place in the Magpies lineup. Having played a measly 89 minutes in total this season, the club have turned down a number of short-term offers for the striker as they would prefer to sanction a permanent deal. 


Ahead of his side's trip to the Etihad Stadium, Benitez told The Shields Gazette: “[Florian] Lejeune and [Jesus] Gamez injured, the rest are available and training."

Despite returning to fitness Mitrovic is likely to continuing pressing for a move this month in order to stake his claim for a starting place for Serbia in the World Cup this summer. 

With a trip to league leaders Manchester City awaiting his side, Benitez's defensive tactics were criticised by pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville last time out as the Magpies fell to a 0-1 defeat, but the Spaniard insisted the analysis of his side did not trouble him, as his his response was a stern: "No," when asked. 

Although refusing to divulge the tactics he will enter the game with this time round, he was asked if he would set up in a similar fashion, he said: "We’ll have to think about that. 

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“The team has to do what it has to do to get points. It’s not a cup competition when you can score an away goal and lose 2-1 – we have to try to draw or win. And we’ll have to defend well, because we’re playing against the best team in the league,” he added.