Souness: Injuries are the reason
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Greame Souness has hit back at Freddy Shepherd's claim that injuries are no excuse.
Graeme Souness has hit back at claims from chairman Freddy Shepherd that injuries are not an excuse for Newcastle United's poor form this season.
The Magpies manager has seen his squad devastated by the number of stars left on the sick list but has welcomed the return of influential midfielder Emre Belozoglu at the weekend.
The Turkey international is set to figure against Souness's former club Blackburn Rovers.
"The reason we're not winning games is because we haven't got our best players on the football pitch," said Souness, in response to the chairman's recent comments.
"That's not an excuse. It's a fact.
"It's a reason, not an excuse.
"I think people have to understand that."
Emre's return has brought some cheer to Souness but impressive defender Steven Taylor is set to miss the remainder of the season.
"He's in the squad and we'll see how he goes today," explained the Newcastle boss to Sky Sports News. "We'll see how he feels after today, that determines whether he starts the game or is on the bench. Providing he doesn't have any setbacks today, of course.
"He's one of a number we've really missed. He would give us something very different in terms of attacking. He's a creator, can score goals and I think, from what the supporters have seen already, they like him. He's energetic and creative and, when he gets in the last third, he's somebody that will get you off the edge of your seat.
"There's nothing new on Taylor. 'Tayls' is out, we think, until next season. Stephen Carr had an operation yesterday, which the surgeon is reluctant to be pinned down on a time. Until it settles down after the operation, we can't be talking about weeks or months. We'll just have to wait and see how it develops."
Souness is hoping Alan Shearer's record-breaking goal for Newcastle will be a winner as the number nine prepares to face his former employers.
"It'd be nice if he was to break the record with a goal that was to win a game," he added.
"No goals are meaningless but it'd be great. He equalled it in the FA Cup and it'll be great to break it in a league game where he scores the winner.
"Blackburn are stubborn and difficult to play against. They work very hard and one or two of their players are very energetic, in your face all the time.
"It'll be a hard game for us, as are any games in The Premiership. We're just looking for points at this stage."