Dyer fights mystery illness

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The Independent Football

His persistent fitness problems - his appearance at the weekend was his first since the 2-0 home defeat by Manchester United on 28 August - have finally been traced to a health problem which, it is understood, is unrelated to football.

Now he has been referred to a specialist in an effort to clear up the illness and help him to return to his best. A statement issued by the the club yesterday read: "Kieron Dyer has a medical problem which has contributed to his lack of fitness. Unfortunately, he has suffered another reaction following his appearance last weekend and will require further specialist attention to help him regain his full fitness."

The club declined to elaborate on the nature of Dyer's illness, but they will hope the solution can be found quickly after a major upturn in Newcastle's fortunes in recent weeks.

He has been repeatedly sidelined for lengthy periods since his £6m arrival during the summer of 1999. But in recent years, a series of hamstring injuries have become a growing cause for concern.

Michael Owen, Emre, Albert Luque and Titus Bramble have all sustained similar injuries this season, prompting the club to move from their first-team training pitches to the academy facilities.

Newcastle, however, remain confident that they can get Dyer, one of their most influential players, fit by the end of the month.