ROY HODGSON will be welcomed into the manager’s office at St James’ Park for a post-match drink this afternoon, after Rafael Benitez claimed an old feud between the pair is all forgotten about.

Hodgson, now in charge of Crystal Palace who he led to a first win of the season last weekend, succeeded Benitez at Liverpool in 2010 and they had verbal exchanges through the media which neither have completely forgotten about.

Benitez was incensed back then when Hodgson bemoaned a number of “expensive failures” he had either inherited or that had left him with less money to spend following the Spaniard’s departure.

But the now Newcastle boss hit back then by suggesting Hodgson didn’t know what he was talking about and to “stop talking about things he didn’t know”.

Speaking at Newcastle’s training ground yesterday, Benitez said: "I had a good relationship with him when he was at Fulham, I was talking really well about him with our directions.

“When I left they appointed him and it was not going really well. I told him one day when I saw him 'listen you have to talk with me because I can explain to you what's going on’. It was a normal conversation and nothing else.

"It's all water under the bridge and I've talked with him face-to-face one day after all these things. I said listen you have to talk with me, you're talking to someone, a director that Liverpool had at this time but who has gone now, so you can't trust him and you have to talk with me.

“I didn't give him advice because he has enough experience, they were telling him that's wrong this is wrong and he was talking, so I said ‘why are you not talking to me, because the other one is a director and he didn't have any clue about football?

“He had enough experience. It was just they were telling him, 'Oh, that is wrong...' and then he was talking as if, 'Why didn't you talk to me?'”

Seven years ago Benitez used a cryptic comment about “some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar” referring to a Spanish term that means Hodgson couldn’t see the truth staring him in the face.

But there should be a friendly reunion at St James’ today, where Benitez is hoping to help Newcastle drive further into the Premier League’s top ten and that would do nothing to help Palace who are still five points adrift of safety.

The Newcastle manager is without Dwight Gayle because of a calf problem, which could open the door for Aleksandar Mitrovic are he was left out at Southampton last Sunday. Chancel Mbemba was also missing from the match-day 18.

Benitez explained: “When you do the list, you have to choose your 11 starters. Sometimes you have a doubt or two and after, you have to pick players for the bench. Then if you have a problem with a striker, who will you take? At this time, it was Dwight Gayle.

“Then you have a problem with your defenders, centre-back, full-back, wing-back, midfielders. You have seven players - normally six are very clear, a full-back, a midfielder, a keeper, a striker, a winger.

“Then you have another one and you say, 'This one or this one?' It depends how your squad is, how your players are. If you have a player with a knock or a little problem, you say, 'Maybe I have to bring someone just in case'.

“What has happened for us in terms of strikers is that we have Dwight now who is not available, so Mitrovic will be there. That was the position.

“Chancel, we had Florian Lejeune coming back, so you have more centre-backs; we have full-backs who can play on both sides – Javier Manquillo can play on both sides, Jesus [Gamez] can play on both sides, so you say, 'Why do we need another centre-back? We need a proper full-back'.

“It's nothing special, it's just that you have to pick your squad, your team and the players have to understand.”