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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley will back Rafa Benitez in the transfer market this summer if the club achieve promotion to the Premier League, according to The Mirror.

The Spanish manager was angry that the North East side failed to add to their squad in January and even voiced his displeasure to the media.

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The Championship leaders were linked with a host of players last month, including winger Andros Townsend, who they sold to Crystal Palace in July 2016.

However, Ashley was not willing to spend big if the new arrivals would then have to be moved on at a loss should Newcastle fail to secure a return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

The report claims that Benitez was aware of this stance and that the hierarchy at St James’ Park are disappointed in his decision to speak out publicly on internal club matters.

Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Derby County on Saturday afternoon, coupled with Reading’s 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town, means that the Magpies are now six points ahead of the Royals, who sit just outside the automatic promotion spots.

Matt Ritchie’s deflected effort was enough to seal a hard-earned victory, although Tom Ince and Darren Bent both had chances to equalise for the Rams, who slipped to eighth.