Double blow from Magpies' collapse

LONDON • Steven Taylor may have played his last game for Newcastle, with Rafael Benitez preparing to drop the former club captain as a result of his calamitous defending during Saturday's 1-3 Premier League loss away to Southampton.

The fallout from that defeat continued on Monday when it was revealed that Daryl Janmaat, the Netherlands defender, suffered two broken fingers after he punched the dressing room wall.

Taylor, whose contract with Newcastle expires at the end of the season, is likely to emerge as another casualty. He has started three of Benitez's four matches in charge, but the new manager has lost patience with him after he was at fault for Southampton's first two goals.

The 30-year-old was substituted at half-time even though Newcastle had lost Janmaat to a groin injury and he is unlikely to return, unless the team suffer more injuries during the remainder of the season.

Benitez has struggled with a lengthy injury list but things seem to be improving slightly in that department.

Indeed, Fabricio Coloccini and Paul Dummett are expected to return to centre-half and left-back respectively for Saturday's vital home game against Swansea.

Should Janmaat not be fit enough to start, Kevin Mbabu, newly recovered from a long-term thigh injury, could be deployed at right-back.

Newcastle are 19th, six points adrift of fourth-bottom Norwich and two in arrears of 18th-placed Sunderland.

Like their Wearside neighbours - who visit Carrow Road on Saturday - they have a game in hand on Alex Neil's side.

But the gap between Norwich and Newcastle could stretch to nine points before Benitez's men kick off on Saturday if the Canaries beat Sunderland in the earlier kick-off.

THE TIMES, LONDON , THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Double blow from Magpies' collapse'. Print Edition | Subscribe