After 32 days and missing five matches, Jonjo Shelvey made his return in the FA Cup replay against Birmingham on Wednesday night.

Leaving nobody in any doubt as to his backing of the player, Rafa Benitez also made the playmaker Captain for the night.

Jonjo Shelvey responded with a man of the match performance as he dominated proceedings, creating all three goals without having to really exert himself.

The returning player saying ‘If I’m picked (against Rotherham), hopefully I’ll do the same on Saturday’.

Shelvey says it has been a killer missing the matches and he has been ‘bored to tears’.

However, he hasn’t been idle, believing that it is even more important to work on your fitness when denied the chance to play matches, revealing he has been doing extra work, both at the training ground and in his own time.

As for Saturday, the Newcastle midfielder believes that it will be the same as every other home game, trying to be patient and then breaking down the very defensive opposition.

A relief for us all to have Jonjo Shelvey back and now the hope is he will continue the excellent form he showed against Birmingham, in this promotion run-in.

Jonjo Shelvey speaking to NUFC TV:

“It has been a strange month obviously. People have said it has gone quick but in my eyes, sitting at home every week and bored to tears, it’s good to finally be back.

“I have been working on my fitness with the club staff, doing extra at the training ground and a bit away from it. It is important that when you are not in the team and get a ban, you keep your fitness up. It’s just good to be back out there.

I just wanted to get out there (v Birmingham) and back to how I was playing before the ban. If I’m picked, hopefully I’ll do the same on Saturday.

“I found out before the game (on Wednesday) that I was going to be skipper and I just said to the young lads in the huddle before the game, that they should fear nothing – go out there and enjoy it.

“I think Rotherham will come and sit back, soak up pressure and try and hit us on the counter-attack. So it will be a matter trying to break them down.

“I know we say that every week at home but it is just a case of staying patient and the gaffer will have a game plan.

“I just needed to get that first game out of the way, get that match fitness back – there is nothing quite like playing matches.”