Injury-hit Newcastle eye two new defenders
Published 22:30 05/12/11 By Simon Bird
Alan Pardew is preparing a double defensive swoop in January to patch up his Newcastle side's injury-ravaged back line.
The Magpies could buy TWO new defenders next month – with Montpellier skipper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and PSV Eindhoven’s Erik Pieters high on the list – after being badly exposed on Saturday against Chelsea.
Steven Taylor had an Achilles operation yesterday, ruling him out for most of the season, while skipper Fabricio Coloccini could miss a month with a thigh strain.
In addition, the Magpies’ third-choice centre-back, Mike Williamson, won’t be back before Christmas after suffering a broken arm and an ankle problem.
That leaves James Perch and Danny Simpson as the likely centre-back pairing for next weekend’s trip to Norwich, with Italy Under-21 international Davide Santon in line to play at right-back.
Pardew is busily patching a small squad that's being ripped apart by injuries, but has ordered his fit players to show some defiance.
“The injuries are our biggest concern now," he said. "We’ve had a brilliant season so far, but injuries are going to come our way and you have to cope with it.
“We’re coming into games now [that] we know are winnable, and could let us back into that top four.
“But at some point in the season you’re going to get into difficult situations and it looks like we’re in a difficult one – but the spirit of the group will remain strong as we go to the next game.
“I was pleased with James Perch [against Chelsea] because he came on in a really intense game against a top player, and although he started shaky he got better as the game went on and that was pleasing.
“We’ve been a bit unlucky in these three games, we’ve not had our best squad to pick from, yet my team are competitive.”
Steven Taylor told of the “weird feeling” he experienced when his Achilles popped.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” he said. “I’m just focused on working hard and getting back after the operation. I’ve just got to get myself fit.
“I thought someone had kicked me, but when I turned around there was no one there.
"It felt so weird. I didn’t know what was going on.”