RAFAEL BENITEZ is trying to pull off a striker double to boost Newcastle United before the transfer window closes on Thursday, even if he will still be frustrated by the length of time it has taken to get things done.

It has emerged Liverpool's Danny Ings is back on the agenda along with West Brom's Salomon Rondon. Ings is interested in heading to Tyneside and a season-long loan with a view to a £15m permanent switch if top-flight survival is secured is being discussed.

Benitez chose not to dodge any of the questions he was asked about the Magpies’ slow progress on the recruitment front after watching his team lose for the third game in a row against continental opposition without scoring a goal.

Augsburg’s 1-0 victory at St James’ Park, witnessed by supporters who occasionally chanted derogatorily against owner Mike Ashley, provided further proof of why Newcastle are in need of attacking reinforcements.

A deal has also been agreed with West Brom that should see Rondon arrive this week, but that will only come at the cost of seeing Dwight Gayle head in the opposite direction.

Gayle still has to agree personal terms but a deal does seem more likely now and if Ings joins too then Benitez will have two forwards he has sought for months at his disposal.

Spaniard Joselu was the only striker among a match-day squad of 21 that faced Augsburg on Saturday and Benitez could not hide his frustration with the Premier League opener against Tottenham approaching.

The Newcastle boss said: “My obligation is to try to improve the squad as much as I can until the last day. I have a lot of confidence in this group of players but they know we have to do something if we want to improve the competition between players. I am confident we can do it.

“If you are asking me if it is ideal, I would say no, because the way that I like to work is doing things early. But we can’t do that at the moment. It’s just trying to improve as much as we can.”

Benitez has had his targets in mind all summer but Ashley has not wanted to sanction purchases unless the cash was raised first. The former Liverpool boss, though, felt it was crucial if he was to try to improve on last season’s tenth place finish and avoid another relegation tussle.

He said: “I was talking with Lee Charnley before the game. I’m not saying we’re not working.

“The point is we were ready to go and we knew what we wanted to do. When I decided to stay here it was because it was a project.

“Everyone knows that we can’t compete against Man City or Man United, but we can do things in the right way. Maybe we can be more competitive or closer to European positions. Maybe we could challenge for a trophy. That was the idea.

“Then we finished tenth and credit to our players but I still thought we could do something more to be closer. It’s not the case.

“We’ll see where we are and we will fight until the last minute trying to improve the squad first then after that the team. Normally when we have time and support - we deliver. We have won trophies everywhere and we will try to do something similar here. I am not happy we are looking to just survive every year.

“At the moment we have to make sure we have to improve the squad and see after that.”

When he was asked if he felt signings would come in this week, he said: “I hope so. I always have confidence and belief we’ll do what we need to do.”

Newcastle lost to a 57th minute header from Michael Gregoritsch against Augsburg, and that was the German side’s first effort on target.

Newcastle didn’t have £9.5m signing Yoshinori Muto to call on because he was not deemed ready to play having only being granted a work permit on Friday.

Benitez, whose side lost 4-0 to Braga on Wednesday, said: “From the other day because we had more control and played on the ball a bit better. Still we have to improve. We have to have more control and not give them the chance to have counter attacks.”