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Kinnear braced for Toon battle

Kinnear braced for Toon battle

Newcastle United chief Joe Kinnear has admitted his side face a real battle to stave off the threat of relegation this season after the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.

It was the Magpies' fourth defeat in five games and the result leaves them in 16th place in the Premier League, but only two points clear of bottom-placed West Brom.

Odds compilers have the Toon as short as 3.85 for the drop with only Stoke, West Brom and Middlesbrough shorter in an ever-changing market.

And to make things worse for Newcastle both Michael Owen and Joey Barton will be sidelined for six weeks and eight weeks respectively after picking up injuries at Eastlands.

Barton has broken a metatarsal, while Owen has an ankle injury leaving Kinnear down to the bare bones ahead of the weekend's derby date with Sunderland.

"It is one thing after another and life is seriously tough at the moment," said Kinnear.

"The credit crunch is killing us,"

"Mike has lost £2billion quid in his own businesses and shares. He is just about paying the wages but it is not an easy situation.

"You look at Tottenham paying £16million here and £14million there. I would love to spend money like that but I can't. You can see why so many people bottled this job."

Newcastle's saving grace might be the fact thas so many other sides like Stoke, Hull, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth have also found themselves in a slump.

But with Mark Viduka (Achilles), Claudio Cacapa (knee), Obafemi Martins (hernia surgery), Shola Ameobi (knee), Habib Beye (ankle) and Tamas Kadar (broken leg) all still out Kinnear faces a massive struggle to turn the odds back in the Magpies' favour.