ROBSON PLAYS DOWN TRAINING BUST-UP

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NEWCASTLE UNITED'S Andy Griffin and Laurent Robert have followed in the footsteps of Charlton's pugilistic duo - Andy Todd and Dean Kiely, by having a training ground bust-up on Friday.

The result left Griffin out of the squad for the game against Everton, whilst Robert played but looked out-of-sorts, although he did set up Clarence Acuna's goal which sealed a fine 3-1 win.

Magpies manager Bobby Robson had both players in for talks and stated no further action would be taken after the two apologised.  Captain Alan Shearer was also present for a pre-match hearing in Newcastle's Merseyside hotel.

Griffin and Robert are natural opponents in training and the Reunion islander remarked on how competitive training was when he first arrived at St James'.  Griffin, an England Under-21 international, is renowned for his tough tackling and is locked in a ferocious battle for the right back spot with Aaron Hughes and Warren Barton.

On his official site Robert remarked: "The players really are all there and they tackle you from all sides.

"It's like a real match.  There's incredible commitment.  I had not expected that at all.  But I can assure you that after that first tackle I quickly understood.

"I told one of our players that they did not have to tackle so hard in training but he immediately told me that this is the way things are here.

"He said you have to do things correctly but that's no problem."

Robson said: "There was a slight incident at the time which was subsequently cleared up on Friday evening at the team hotel in the presence of Alan Shearer.

"It took no more than five minutes to clear up and the players shook hands and the matter is now closed.

"To say that there has been bad blood between them for some time is a complete misinterpretation of the facts.

"I am taking no disciplinary action other than to accept an apology from both players after which was only a slight flare up similar to what occurs occasionally at most training grounds."