By Harry Sykes
Rafael Benitez has revealed how much he is looking forward to unveiling Aleksander Mitrovic on Championship defences.
The striker will serve the final match of his four-match suspension carried over from last season when Newcastle travel to Bristol City on Sunday.
But Mitrovic will be available for selection when the north-east giants host highly fancied Brighton at St James’ Park on Saturday week.
Speaking on Friday, Benitez explained that Mitrovic will add some thrust to a forward line that has been led by Dwight Gayle for the opening three matches of the campaign.
“For us it has been a problem with Mitrovic because he is our target man,” Benitez said, as quoted by the Chronicle live blog (1.11pm). “He will give us a new dimension when he’s back.”
The Magpies front man was one of the team’s shining lights towards the end of last season as they narrowly failed in their bid to escape Premier League relegation.
Mitrovic, 21, scored nine Premier League goals for Newcastle and finished as the North East side’s top scorer last season, making a total of 39 appearances in all competitions.
But the £13million signing from Anderlecht picked up two red cards last season and has a susceptible temperament.
Benitez has subsequently brought in versatile forward Gayle for around £10million from Crystal Palace after allowing Papiss Cisse to move to China.
Former Real Madrid manager Benitez also has Ayoze Perez and Adam Armstrong at his disposal.
The 56-year-old has already brought in eight new faces on Tyneside, spending almost £50million in the process. Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark have all joined in multi-million pound deal.
In other Newcastle team news, their star player has revealed he hopes to return to training next week.