Rafa Benitez gives update on Yoan Gouffran's fitness

Yoann Gouffran, Jack Colback

Could the forgotten Newcastle man still play a part in the battle against relegation?

Rafael Benitez says forgotten 29-year-old Yoan Gouffran is closer to returning to fitness for Newcastle United, according to the Shields Gazette.

And that means the forward could yet play a part in Newcastle's battle against relegation this season, despite falling so far out of favour at St James' Park.

Gouffran has underwhelmed during his time on Tyneside so far but every resource available could be useful during the club's time of need.

The Spaniard is quoted as saying by the Gazette: "We [have Kevin] Mbabu coming back, that is good news. Gouffran is closer, so we have some players getting closer."

Gouffran may have hope as a number of previous underperformers have upped their game under Benitez.

As bad as some Newcastle players have been over the years, their displays have often been a reflection of their managers. Alan Pardew, after his initial impact with the Magpies, was no man manager. John Carver was no manager - and Steve McClaren just as bad if not worse.

Should Gouffran return to fitness soon, Benitez could well use him, even if just off the bench.

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