Magpies concern over keeper
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle may have to field a goalkeeping rookie for their match with Fenerbahce.
Newcastle may have to field a goalkeeping rookie for their Uefa Cup group stage opener against Fenerbahce on Thursday.
Magpies boss Glenn Roeder has confirmed that Steve Harper has picked up an injury, and, with regular first choice Shay Given still sidelined, the club may have no option but to plump for untried Dutch youngster Tim Krul.
Harper suffered a 'slight injury' in his team's disappointing defeat to Bolton on Sunday, and Roeder will make a late check on the stalwart's fitness.
"Steve has a slight injury that he picked up in the game on Sunday," Roeder told Newcastle's official website.
"It is quite minor. We will have to assess him in the morning and see what he is like then.
"We're far from ruling Steve out at this stage."
With short-term signing Pavel Srnicek not registered for European competition, Roeder would have to hand a debut to 18-year-old Krul were Harper to fail his check.
And the former West Ham boss claims he would have full faith in the former ADO Den Haag man, despite his tender years and lack of experience.
"If Tim had to play, it wouldn't be a problem for myself, or the rest of the squad," continued Roeder.
"He trains with us every day, and is undoubtedly Holland's best goalkeeper in his age group.
"He is a hugely talented young goalkeeper.
"If we needed to use him at any time in the game, if Steve started and wasn't able to finish, then we would have a lot of confidence in him.
"As I said we will see how Steve is tomorrow, because we have to have an eye on the game on Sunday as well."
Meanwhile, Roeder has backed his players to bounce back from the setback in losing to Bolton by claiming a positive result against the visitors of Fenerbahce.
"Every day on the training ground I see a lot of character," added the manager, whose side have struggled for form in recent weeks, losing three of their last four matches in The Premiership.
"We have good, strong characters who do not like to lose and get extremely disappointed when they lose.
"At this moment, we have a squad of players who are very angry. The only way they can turn that anger into some sort of pleasure would be to get the victory tomorrow night.
"There is no-one in the squad that is happy the way things have gone over the last few weeks, and I can see a real hunger, desire and determination going into this game.
"Hopefully, we will see that desire come out during the game and that will result in a victory.
"But we know it will be a tough game. We respect Fenerbahce, but we are firmly focused on getting our own performance right."