Steve McClaren


By Dominic Scurr

 

Head coach Steve McClaren admits Newcastle United's injuries are causing him some problems ahead of Saturday's St. James' Park clash with West Bromwich Albion (3pm kick-off).

The Magpies lost three defenders in their 3-0 defeat to Everton in midweek as Chancel Mbemba and Paul Dummett both picked up injuries before Jamaal Lascelles' late sending off.

And McClaren is now turning his head to some of the younger talent at his disposal.

"We never envisaged losing three (defenders) in one game," said United's boss.

"At the last count we had 12 out (injured) and one suspension, so we've drafted in three under-21s players for tomorrow.

"Chancel has had one scan and is getting a second opinion. By the middle of next week we should have the diagnosis and know how long he will be out.

"Dummett has picked up a little niggle. He trained for five days (before Everton) but there was a tightness there. He won't be fit for Saturday but should be back in training next week.

"Jack Colback is very, very close but not quite - he's another that should be back in training soon.

"The sending off was particularly frustrating because Jamaal was doing well and we needed him for the upcoming games.

"If we have to throw the kids in - we did that with Kevin Mbabu and he came through - we have no hesitation in doing that again."

One player who will start at the heart of Newcastle's rearguard - for the first time since August - is homegrown defender Steven Taylor.

The 30-year-old centre-back has spent the past few months recovering from a hamstring injury and is now in line to start alongside captain Fabricio Coloccini.

"Steven Taylor is a true Geordie who wears his heart on his sleeve and we need that type of character tomorrow," McClaren continued.

"He's been working hard through what has been a very frustrating and difficult period for him."

New loan signing Seydou Doumbia is also expected to feature as McClaren remains optimistic regarding the strength of his squad going into Saturday's game.

He revealed: "Today is the first time (Seydou) has trained with us so it may be asking too much of him to start tomorrow, but we hope he will feature at some stage.

"We are suffering a bit through injuries at the moment, but we've still got a decent team for tomorrow and a decent squad that is capable of collecting three points."