Souness at a low ebb
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle boss Graeme Souness says he is in the toughest spell of his career.Newcastle boss Graeme Souness has admitted he is at his lowest ebb as a manager after seeing his injury ravaged side slump to 13th in the league.
The pressure on the Magpies boss continued to increase after a 1-0 defeat to Fulham on Saturday that ensured a run of just two wins in the last nine Premiership games.
The Tyneside locals are restless but Souness's efforts have been severely hindered by a debilitating run of injuries to key players including Michael Owen, Albert Luque, Scott Parker and Emre.
Faced with a crucial juncture in his reign at St James' Park, Souness has admitted that he is currently suffering his most troubled time in a management role - with the weight of the city's expectations weighing heavy on his shoulders.
"Yes I would say so," said Souness.
"We have 52,000 people pack our stadium every week, we're a big club.
"There's one club in the city and it's constantly under the spotlight.
"This is a club with enormous expectations and right now we cannot fulfil those.
"They're beyond us because, as we speak, we've now got 11 players injured, 11 players who would all be a big part of our team.
"The margins you operate in The Premiership are so fine, if we had Kieron Dyer and Emre, or Emre and Scott Parker, or Michael Owen, any one of them might have made a difference.
"I've certainly never experienced injuries like these.
"I'm not going to pour my heart out, I will feel sorry for myself in my quieter moments.
"You have to be an optimist and a pessimist and I have to believe things will turn - and I believe I'm getting as much as I can out of the group of players I'm working with."
Souness is looking to bring in recruits during the January transfer window in a bid to alleviate his injury problems, and is reportedly close to sealing a move for Portsmouth defender Gregory Vignal.
The former Liverpool man may have his first team prospects limited under new boss Harry Redknapp and has admitted he would jump at the chance to join Newcastle.
"It would be a fantastic move for me," said Vignal.
Meanwhile, injured striker Michael Owen has revealed his recovery from a broken metatarsal is progressing well, with a comeback expected in April.
"The doctors seem happy with how the bone in my foot is healing and although it is too early to be making accurate forecasts, I hope to be back for at least a month of the Premiership season," Owen wrote in his column in The Times.
The England international also revealed he was not looking to move into management when his glittering career draws to a close, as he is eager to pursue his keen interest in horse racing.
"I hope to play football for years to come but, as it stands, I cannot see myself opting for the stresses and strains of management.
"You are more likely to find me in the stables than the dugout as I try to breed my own winners. I have already made a start."