By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Andros Townsend is confident Rafael Benitez will still be at Newcastle next season.

The newly-appointed manager has a get-out clause in his contract in May, but Townsend is confident that the Spaniard will not be going anywhere if Newcastle start playing to their potential.

The former Tottenham winger, who moved to St James’ Park in the January window, admits he was disappointed that Steve McClaren was axed.

Nevertheless, Townsend is hopeful that the feel-good factor on Tyneside inspired by Benitez’s arrival can spark off the winning run needed to get the club out of relegation trouble.

“Getting Rafa Benitez to come to Newcastle just shows how big the club is,” the England international told the Chronicle. “He’s won everything around the world and managed the best players, so it can only be a positive for us.

“We can stay up this season and we can keep one of the best managers at Newcastle.”

Benitez replaced McClaren earlier this month, but Townsend revealed he not be at the club had the former manager not persuaded the hierarchy to pay £12million to prise him from Tottenham.

The winger explained: “It’s been fantastic with Rafa coming in, but it’s no secret I was disappointed when McClaren left.

Done deal: Townsend joined Newcastle from Tottenham in January

Done deal: Townsend joined Newcastle from Tottenham in January

“They paid a lot of money to get me here and it was Steve who put his faith in me to get me here. This is football, and you need to move on.”

Newcastle’s travel to fellow relegation battlers Norwich on Saturday aiming to secure the much-needed victory that would lift them to 28 points, level with Alex Neil’s team.

In other Newcastle news, ex-manager McClaren wanted to sign four proven English players this season.