Shepherd vows to fight on despite protests by fans

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The Independent Football

Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd last night vowed to fight on despite supporter protests calling for his resignation.

Newcastle are within goal difference of the bottom of the Premiership after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United and, after that match, fans demanded boardroom changes.

But Shepherd last night said: "I'm a Geordie, same as them. I'm not going drop my head, I'm going to get in there and fight and I know the Geordies are going to get behind us."

Shepherd respects the views of the fans but insists he is the person best equipped to guide the club through the current crisis.

He said: "Right now, it would seem I am the only one prepared to do this job and it's one I will continue to do to the very best of my ability and with the best interest of the club at heart. These things happen in football and the fans are entitled to do that."

Shepherd also has faith in under-pressure manager Glenn Roeder ­ and the current squad ­ and points out that injuries have badly affected the side.

He added: "I've got full confidence in the players and the manager. We'll get out of this blip. We've had nine injuries, including Michael Owen, who was brought in to replace [Alan] Shearer, and Kieron Dyer with long-term injuries. It's not an excuse, it's a fact."

Newcastle are at Watford tonight in the Carling Cup.

* Middlesbrough will continue talks with the Premier League and the FA this week over Gareth Southgate's position as manager. The 12-week period during which the 36-year-old is allowed to be in charge without a Uefa Pro licence expires on Saturday. Further talks are expected on Thursday when the Boro chairman, Steve Gibson, joins his counterparts at their regular meeting.