RAFAEL BENITEZ has reassured Newcastle United supporters that delivering Premier League football back to Tyneside is top of his agenda after hearing of top-flight interest in him and captain Jamaal Lascelles.

West Ham United’s owners David Gold and David Sullivan are known to have been close to appointing the Spaniard in the past and there has been fresh talk of an approach should Slaven Bilic fail to improve fortunes at the London Stadium.

It has since emerged Liverpool have been monitoring Newcastle skipper Lascelles’ performances in the Championship, just weeks after Chelsea were said to be considering a January bid. Newcastle would not be encouraging business, although an offer in excess of £30m might make them think.

Benitez, whose promotion chasers are heading to struggling Wigan tonight, is not concerned by the speculation and is focused purely on the task of taking Newcastle up.

The Newcastle boss said: "I saw the links about Jamaal, but I have been talking with him and with more people around him. He's happy, he's OK and we think that he's a good player for us, so I don't see any big change in January around him, or anyone really.”

He added: "The players that are playing a lot of games, with the team at the top and the possibilities of the future, I don't see anyone who would like to go.

"I could see maybe someone coming, but still our position is the same: Still we are happy with the squad at the moment, the players are fine and they are enjoying their football, so I don't see a big problem now.”

His messages about the future of his players was mirrored by his own situation amid the links to the West Ham job, which he was close to taking before accepting the Real Madrid role in the summer of last year.

Benitez said: "I don't see any big change now at the club as a whole. I am giving you my answer - I don't see any big changes at the club in January.

"I have a lot of respect for West Ham because when I was in contact with them, they were really good and professional. But I am really happy here and we carry on trying to win games.

“At the moment, I'm really pleased here. I'm not thinking about anything ... just winning against Wigan and getting promoted at the end of the season."

Benitez’s comments will be a relief to Newcastle supporters ahead of a busy December when they will look to strengthen their push for an immediate Premier League return.

Wigan are battling at the opposite end of the table and Benitez, who was pleased with his side’s return to winning ways against Birmingham on Saturday, sees no reason why his players should freeze against the Latics tonight – even if he will be wary.

He said: "Obviously I don't want it to happen like this but we always talk about: 'How difficult is the Championship?'

"Some teams are at the bottom of the table, but still they play very good football. Wigan is a team that has more than 50-per-cent possession in most of their games so they are quite keen to keep the ball, pass the ball.

"They also have some pace in attack. They have made some mistakes at the back and conceded goals, but the team itself is a team that tries to play football. For that reason you never know with these types of games because they can play well, they can score and then they will be more difficult to break down.

"The main thing for me is to be sure that we have confidence in the way that we are doing things, we have confidence in the way that we approach the games, especially away, and just try to do the same things.

"It doesn't matter the name of the rivals. We just need to make sure that we do what we have to do to give ourselves the chance to get three points.”

Newcastle will have Ayoze Perez available again after illness and there are no fresh injury problems. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot is fit again but will have to fight for his place due to the form of Karl Darlow.

Elliot, who injured his knee in March, made his comeback on Monday in the 4-2 victory over Aston Villa’s Under-23s.

The Newcastle boss said: “Obviously when a player has been out for a long time he is doing well to get back. He conceded two goals but was not guilty. He can improve and can increase the competition which is good.

“Simon Smith, the keeper coach, and me talked and it will be a problem for us to have three keepers. But I like to have these options. Darlow is doing well and Matz Sels is training really well.

“Rob is doing OK, played. Afterwards we will decide. We can’t say he will come back in as No 1 because Darlow is doing well. That’s football, they have to keep pushing hard.”