Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toon Pair in Euro Ko

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toon Pair in Euro Ko

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Oliver

Newcastle United suffered a double blow today ( before their plane even took off for Holland and tomorrow's UEFA Cup tie with Heerenveen.

For when the United squad reported to Newcastle Airport this morning, two key midfielders, Kieron Dyer and Nicky Butt, were both missing.

Dyer was sent home from training on Monday suffering from the flu but, unlike his midfield colleague Jermaine Jenas who has also been laid low by the bug, he had not recovered in time for the trip to Holland.

And Butt was also missing after he had picked up an ankle injury in training and found that it had not responded to an injection on Monday afternoon.

The only consolation for United is that both Dyer and Butt are expected to return for Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea at St James's Park, and if this is the case it will offset the loss of Lee Bowyer and Amdy Faye, who are both suspended against the London outfit.

The other good news is that Jean Alain Boumsong has returned from seeing a specialist in France optimistic that he will be fit to face Chelsea.

His latest setback appears to be related to his back rather than his hamstring and he was training at Darsley Park today.

Meanwhile, Graeme Souness has warned United not to underestimate UEFA Cup opponents Heerenveen.

Although the Dutch side are currently in fifth place in their own Eredivisie, United are favourites to go through to the last 16 to meet either Sochaux or Panathinaikos.

But Souness is fully aware that tomorrow's opponents have already beaten powerful German outfit Stuttgart in their compact Abe Lenstra Stadium in the UEFA Cup this season.

And while it is generally accepted that it is best playing the second leg at home in Europe, as United do against Heerenveen at St James' Park a week tomorrow, Souness said today: "My experience of European football is that having the home leg second can work both ways. …

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