Kieron Dyer says Rafa Benitez has the X-factor, can keep Newcastle up

Kieron Dyer of Newcastle United reacts to a missed chance during the Barclays Premiership match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park on April 22, 2007 in Newcastle,...

Newcastle face Manchester United at St. James' Park on Sunday.

Newcastle's Kieron Dyer (L) vies with Chelsea's Wayne Bridge during their English Premiership football match at St James Park, Newcastle , North-east, England, 22 April 2007. AFP PHOTO

Former Newcastle United midfielder Kieron Dyer has told the Daily Mail that he "fears" for the Toon in their fight against relegation but believes manager Rafa Benitez has the X-factor - and that could keep them up.

The Toon are preparing to welcome Manchester United on Sunday afternoon at St. James' Park, as Benitez's side face a tall order in preventing Jose Mourinho's men from completing the double over the Magpies.

United earned a 4-1 win at Old Trafford and another defeat at the hands of the Red Devils could see Newcastle slip into the bottom three sides in the Premier League table, and Dyer is worried for his old side.

Kieron Dyer of Middlesbrough makes his way to the bench prior to the npower Championship match between Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on February 16, 2013 in London,...

The ex-England international believes Newcastle lack a goalscorer but is confident that Benitez's "X-factor" can prove crucial in helping the Toon remain in the top flight of English football.

"I do fear for them," Dyer said. "Goals have been hard to come by and they don't have a prolific goalscorer. It is going to be a struggle but their big advantage is that Rafa Benitez is top drawer.

"He could be the X-factor that keeps them up. Hopefully Newcastle stay up, the takeover happens, Benitez stays and the club can become established in the Premier League once more and not a yo-yo team."

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez shouts encouragement during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2018 in London, England.

January recruit Islam Slimani is expected to return from a muscle injury to make his first appearance for the Toon, after joining the club on deadline from Leicester City on loan until the end of the season.

Benitez and Newcastle will take confidence from Mourinho's dismal record on Tyneside, which has seen him draw three times and lose three times following his two spells with Chelsea.

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