Shearer: Crucial week in Newcastle’s season, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Shearer: Crucial week in Newcastle’s season

Bottom-placed Magpies square off with fellow strugglers Norwich and Burnley


(Tomorrow, 3.30am, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)

Newcastle United great Alan Shearer warned that the Magpies' "season is really all about their next two games" against second-from-bottom Norwich City tomorrow morning (Singapore time) and third-from-bottom Burnley on Saturday.

Eddie Howe's side, who are on six points from 13 games, are three points adrift of both teams.

With the transfer window opening only in January, Newcastle are desperate to ensure they are not cut adrift before they even get the chance to exploit their new-found Saudi-backed wealth.

Shearer, the English Premier League's all-time top scorer, wrote in his BBC column: "There are no ifs or buts about it - Newcastle's season is really all about their next two games...

"They are both at St James' Park, and they are both must-win matches...

"Even six points probably won't lift Newcastle out of the Premier League's bottom three because their goal difference is so bad.

"But two wins are imperative because that would at least put them in touch with the teams just above the drop zone, with an extremely tough run of games to follow.

"Otherwise, Newcastle are facing a scenario where they are well adrift come the start of January, which could affect the calibre of players who arrive when the transfer window opens.

"Not many top players will want to commit to a team who, by then, might look a lot like they are going to be relegated...

"The longer this wait for a win goes on, the tougher his task becomes - no matter how much money is made available to strengthen the team in January."

Howe, who replaced Steve Bruce earlier this month, has a loss and a draw from his first two matches at the helm.

"We are aware how important these games are. It is dangerous to look too far ahead," he said in yesterday's pre-match press conference.

"There is a bit of confidence and a bit of luck missing this season. There are games they could have won."

On the transfer window, he added: "You have to attract the players, the players have to want to come, they have to be the right players and they have to improve your squad...

"January is an incredibly difficult window to recruit players, especially when your league position is difficult."

Norwich have a new manager of their own in Dean Smith, who joined just a week after Howe took charge at St James' Park and has overseen a win and a draw in his first two matches.

The ex-Aston Villa boss warned Newcastle: "It is always difficult to think you can buy your way out of any position or into any position.

"You bring players into a squad and first of all, they have to go and settle in, there is an integration that they have to go get settled into.

"Certainly, if they are not British-based players or tasted the Premier League before, there is a newness about everything.

"The Premier League, as we all know, is a very talented league and every club gives you a challenge, so it is very difficult to buy a place in the top six or out of the bottom three."