22 May 2009

Newcastle stare into abyss

6:52 pm on 22 May 2009

Newcastle's hopes of avoiding becoming the biggest Premier League casualty since Leeds were relegated from English football's top flight in 2004 have been hit by an injury crisis.

Alan Shearer's side go into their final match of the season, at Aston Villa on Sunday, needing to secure at least a point while hoping that a second-string Manchester United side is good enough to beat Hull who're a point ahead of Newcastle.

With full-backs Habib Beye and Jose Enrique both very doubtful and centreback Sebastien Bassong suspended, Shearer could have only one member of his first-choice back four, Steven Taylor, available.

With West Brom already condemned to a return to the Championship, Newcastle are one of four clubs in danger of filling the two other relegation places.