Crucial 72 hours for Souness 'to keep job'

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The Independent Football

Graeme Souness faces a fight to remain manager of Newcastle, with the possibility he could be sacked within 72 hours, according to reports last night.

The Newcastle chairman, Freddy Shepherd, is said to be considering Souness's future after poor results over the festive period. Shepherd is said to be losing patience with the 52-year-old manager, despite the club's crippling injury list. Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce is the No 1 target to take over at St James' Park.

Surgeons yesterday carried out an operation on Newcastle striker Michael Owen's broken toe. The operation is understood to have gone successfully but Newcastle's injury problems are increasing, with Shola Ameobi the latest to face a spell on the sidelines.

Souness said: "When you look at the six or so players we've got injured, any team would miss them."