Newcastle go top after Guthrie blast

Newcastle United 1 Leicester City 0: Support from the stands has helped £25m striker find goalscoring form in no time
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The Independent Online

The Newcastle United caretaker manager Chris Hughton is confident he will lose no more of the players who have taken the club to the top of the Championship table before this afternoon's transfer deadline.

Yesterday, after watching the Spanish striker Xisco become the 12th man to leave the club this summer when he joined Racing Santander on a season-long loan deal, Hughton saw Danny Guthrie fire the Magpies to a fourth successive league victory to put them two points clear of West Bromwich.

However, he admitted his squad has been stretched to its limits by departures and injuries, and owner Mike Ashley can have been left in little doubt as to the severity of the situation from his seat in the stands.

He sat close, but not next to, prospective buyer Barry Moat, while would-be manager Alan Shearer was also at St James' Park as an American consortium arrived in England to step up its own interest. But as Tyneside awaits developments off the pitch, Hughton can only hope his mission is not derailed on it as he looks to add reinforcements, including Denmark striker Peter Lovenkrands.

Hughton said: "I am hopeful that we will bring certainly one or two in. I am even more confident that nobody in this present squad will be leaving us.

"We certainly have good players here and it is only right that the young lads are given an opportunity in this squad, because we feel they deserve that. But we need by [today's deadline] 5pm to make sure we have got a squad that's strong enough to compete for a whole season. The club is aware of that."

Newcastle were grateful for the services of experienced goalkeeper Steve Harper before the break, the 34-year-old pulling off fine saves from Steve Howard's bullet header and Paul Gallagher's curling free-kick.

However, as lone striker Nile Ranger started to make a real impression after the break, it was the Magpies who forged their way in front.

Kevin Nolan laid off Harper's 52nd-minute clearance to the teenager, who picked out Guthrie, and his superb finish from 20 yards was enough to clinch a fourth successive league win.

The City manager Nigel Pearson, himself a former caretaker at Newcastle, said: "I don't think there was a lot in the game. The goal we conceded wasn't a good one from our perspective. It was a game we looked forward to and expected to get something out of. As far as we were concerned, it was a game we could come and win."

Meanwhile, Hughton confirmed that Argentine winger Jonas Gutierrez will be sidelined for up to a month by a hamstring problem, while striker Shola Ameobi, who has five goals to his name to date, will be out even longer with a stress injury to his foot.

Newcastle United: Harper, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Simpson, Jose Enrique, Geremi, Barton (Kadar, 89), Nolan, Guthrie (Donaldson, 85), Smith, Ranger (Vuckic, 85). Substitutes not used: Krul (gk), LuaLua, Ngo Baheng, Tozer.

Leicester City: Weale, Neilson, Brown, Hobbs, Berner,

N'Guessan (Adams, 90), Oakley, Fryatt (Waghorn, 69), Wellens, Howard, Gallagher (Dyer, 60). Substitutes not used: Logan (gk), McGivern, Morrison, Andy King.

Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire).

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