Bassong's appeal is rejected

Newcastle United yesterday lost their appeal over Sébastien Bassong's dismissal against Fulham last Saturday and with a doubt remaining over Habib Beye's and Jose Enrique's fitness, Alan Shearer is facing a defensive injury crisis as he prepares his team for their biggest match in 16 years at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Newcastle's appeal on Bassong was optimistic – Shearer said after the game it was the right decision – but if Beye and Enrique are also out, Shearer's options will be greatly curtailed.

He is already fielding left-winger Damien Duff at left-back due to there being no cover for Enrique. There is no established cover for Beye at right-back either: David Edgar is inexperienced and Ryan Taylor is more of a midfielder. Bassong's omission should mean Steven Taylor is accompanied by Fabricio Coloccini.

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