Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injury Nightmare

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injury Nightmare

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Newcastle United are facing a injury nightmare ahead of their Uefa Cup quarter-final against Marseille after they secured a valiant point at Aston Villa yesterday.

The goalless draw pushed Newcastle level with Liverpool with a game in hand and came after they had been reduced to ten men with less than ten minutes gone when Andy O'Brien was red-carded following a tangle with Darius Vassell.

But things got even worse for Sir Bobby Robson's side with Jermaine Jenas (thigh) and Craig Bellamy (hamstring) both forced off with injuries and Kieron Dyer also likely to miss out on Thursday's mouth- watering European clash after suffering yet another reaction to his hamstring complaint.

And Robson admitted his squad was being stretched to the limit, with Michael Bridges likely to come in for Bellamy and Lee Bowyer, who had one of his best games for Newcastle after replacing Jenas yesterday, set to keep his place against the French outfit after finally serving his six-match European ban.

"JJ is struggling with a thigh problem, while Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy have both got hamstring strains," said Robson.

"Shola Ameobi has got a groin problem and so they are all a major doubt for Thursday, which is obviously a blow to us.

"We will have to see how they are tomorrow. The result has come at a cost."

The injury headache rather took the gloss off a hugely impressive battling performance from United, who not only contained Villa with ten men, but also threatened to score on the break.

And, while Robson refused to be too critical of referee Barry Knight he did complain about the decision to show O'Brien the red card.

He explained: "I'm not going to hammer the referee because I thought he controlled the game well when things threatened to get out of hand towards the end.

"But he was 30 yards away when he sent Andy off. Under those circumstances he has to give the defender the benefit of the doubt. …

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