But McClaren is under no illusions he is only in a job because Newcastle have yet to finalise negotiations with Benitez.
And sources last night claimed there are still key stumbling blocks to be overcome before the former Liverpool boss, out of work since being axed by Real Madrid in January, signs a three-year contract.
Newcastle are anxious to have Benitez in place before the game at Leicester.
The Spaniard is keen to return to Premier League management and ideally wants to oversee training tomorrow.
The club have already agreed in principle to Benitez being given the manager’s title as opposed to the head coach label McClaren was handed.
And personal terms should not be a problem with the club willing to pay him around £4m a year plus a £2m bonus if he can preserve Premier League status. A get-out clause in the event of relegation suits both parties.