Newcastle United’s scrap against relegation may depend on the club’s injured players returning to fitness; according to head coach Steve McClaren.
Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Everton leaves Newcastle occupying 18th position, two points from safety with 14 matches to go.
Chancel Mbemba and Paul Dummett both sustained injuries in the loss at Goodison Park, joining the likes of Massadio Haidara, Gabriel Obertan, Vurnon Anita, Siem de Jong and Papiss Cisse on the sidelines.
Ahead of Saturday’s home meeting with West Brom, McClaren says those absent players need to return as soon as possible if the club is to avoid a second relegation from the top flight in eight years.
“In three or four weeks’ time we must be fit and healthy and have a good attitude and energy,” he told the Chronicle. “We need everybody in that treatment room off the beds and training again.
“They need to help us do what we want, which is climb up the league.
“It is a mini-season. It was 15 [games left] then you knock it down to 10. Then it’s about the last five. We have to start getting results.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Andros Townsend, one of four new arrivals in the transfer window alongside Jonjo Shelvey, Henri Saivet and Seydou Doumbia.
“We are not deluded. We know we have to win now. It is about having the bottle to produce your best,” said the former Tottenham man.
“It is about being brave, even if you are 1-0 down to still get the ball and do the things that got you in the team. We have big characters here who have played in big matches and I am sure we have enough quality.
“If you look at next season, and the one after, I am sure there is a big future for Newcastle. We need to pull together now and find enough to stay in the league.
“We have come into the stage of the season where we can’t say, ‘Next game, next game, next game.’ It has to be now.”
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