By support

25th Apr, 2017 | 10:52am

Rob Elliot delivers verdict on Newcastle senior man following promotion to the Premier League

By Matt Farr

Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot insists that Rafa Benitez has his sights set on a long term project at St. James’ Park.

Benitez masterminded Newcastle’s immediate promotion back to the Premier League with a 4-1 win over Preston on Monday, but refused to give assurances over his future at the club.

The Spaniard opted to stay with the club following their relegation to the Championship last summer, but speculation has once again ensued over his position in Tyneside.

However, Elliot is confident that Benitez will remain at Newcastle for the foreseeable future, beginning with the club’s quest to retain their Premier League status next season.

He told TalkSport: “I don’t think he just stayed [after relegation last season] to get us up. I think he sees this as a long-term project.

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“The connection with the fans, the manager, the players, is just brilliant.

“Hopefully, this is the start of something special and we can look back and see this as the catalyst that pushed us forward.”

Benitez may, however, want assurances from the Newcastle board that he will be backed with sufficient transfer funds this summer, before making any decision on his future.

The Magpies chief was understood to have grown frustrated with Mike Ashley for his lack of financial support during the January transfer window, which saw Newcastle go empty-handed.

Benitez had grown particularly frustrated at his failure to re-capture the services of Andros Townsend.

The English winger had been flirting with a return to Newcastle over the majority over the winter window, but Benitez came up short despite looking likely to strike a deal.

As a result, Benitez may demand the necessary backing to rebuild his squad for their Premier League return before committing his future to the club.

In other Newcastle news, Kevin Keegan has delivered his verdict on Benitez, revealing what will be his biggest challenge as manager.

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