RAFAEL BENITEZ is desperate to avoid a FA Cup shock when Luton Town visit Tyneside tomorrow – and then he will bank on finally finding out how much money he will have available to spend on new players this month.

Despite the transfer window opening five days ago, and the need for new players at St James’ Park, Benitez is still unclear on what finance he has available in the transfer window.

Benitez is being linked with a host of players, particularly in midfield and up front where he is seeking improvements. The ongoing uncertainty over the future ownership of the club, however, is not helping his cause.

Benitez said: “I don’t know exactly what our budget is so don’t have any news. We have to keep working and try to make sure we have our targets because I don’t know. I have to prepare the team.

“We had a meeting last week and had conversations and I am waiting now for news. We had the meeting, talking about options, targets and waiting for the numbers. I can’t say nothing, no more.

“We don’t talk about names. At the moment we don’t have any movement so we are waiting.”

Benitez had hoped Amanda Staveley would have agreed to buy the club by now, or at least Mike Ashley had sanctioned some spending to improve the squad’s chances of staying in the Premier League.

He said: “I am happy with my squad, but still we need some bodies. How many I will not say, I don’t know the budget so it doesn’t matter whether I say one, two or three or four ... sometimes you have a target and you don’t get a target also.

“January is always difficult because they might be in a top side and don’t want to leave now. I am being realistic, we have one game tomorrow and that’s it.”

He reported “no news” on the takeover saga, and his focus is on fielding a strong team to progress beyond Luton, of League Two, tomorrow in the FA Cup.

“I think we will have a strong team, one game this week and one next week. We will try to put out a team that is enough to win the game,” said Benitez.

“We have same problems, Mitrovic, Gamez, Lejeune and Elliot are missing. Mbemba now too. Same we had before.

“I will try to play a strong team to make sure we try to win, maybe a few youngsters included.

“This is the most important game now, Luton are doing well in the league, they will bring a lot of fans and we will try to win this one and then see what happens in the future.

“I understand how important the FA Cup is, everybody wants to win and win trophies. The reality is we are where we are.

"We will try to win this game and progress and then decide after. We will try to manage our games in the best way possible.”