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Newcastle have suffered a major double injury blow with Michael Owen and Joey Barton facing spells on the sidelines.
England striker Owen limped out of the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City after just 19 minutes with midfielder Barton following him down the tunnel in the second period.
Manager Joe Kinnear confirmed after the game that both men had suffered ankle problems, with Owen out for at least three weeks and Barton back on the treatment table for another six weeks.
Goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips and former Magpies forward Craig Bellamy set City on their way to victory with Andy Carroll's reply for the makeshift visitors proving to be nothing more than a consolation.
With Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby against bitter rivals Sunderland on the horizon and the club locked in a relegation battle, it was the loss of two more key men which was of most concern to Kinnear.
He told Sky Sports: "Michael is now going to be out for at least three weeks and Joey Barton could be out for at least six weeks.
"Joey's going to have a scan on his ankle as we're not sure whether he has cracked it or not. He said he felt something crack in his right ankle, so we're going to check that out tomorrow.
"Michael's on crutches already for protection and he's going to have a scan tomorrow.
"That just leaves us with Andy Carroll. We're missing Obafemi Martins and (Mark) Viduka. There's no chance of Viduka being back for the weekend and Martins is no more than an outside chance."
Goalkeeper Shay Given, who has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester City, was not involved at Eastlands but Kinnear insisted his No.1 was suffering with an ankle injury.
He added: "Shay pulled out yesterday (Tuesday) with a knee injury, as did (Charles) N'Zogbia with an ankle injury.
"We're doing the best we possibly can to keep Shay. He missed this game because of injury. There's not much more I can say about that situation."
Kinnear has already agreed to stay on at St James' Park until the end of the season and has a long-term contract offer from owner Mike Ashley awaiting his signature.
The former Wimbledon and Nottingham Forest boss insists he will not walk away from the challenge in the North East, but will wait until the end of the campaign before deciding on his long-term future.
He said: "I've got a three-and-a-half-year contract on the table that I haven't signed.
"I could have signed it three weeks ago, but I'm prepared to leave the situation as it is until the end of the season and then take stock then.
"It's a really tough job, but I'm not going to walk away from it. I can see why so many other managers turned it down, because it really is a tough job."
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