Kinnear clears the air with Owen

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The Independent Football

Newcastle interim manager Joe Kinnear has moved to ease the uncertainty hanging over the club after telling the players exactly what is going on off the pitch.

The former Wimbledon boss called in skipper Michael Owen after getting the low-down over the proposed sale of the Magpies from managing director Derek Llambias, and asked him to pass the message on to his team-mates.

Owen had earlier admitted that a lack of information from the boardroom had not helped the situation on the pitch, where Newcastle have lost each of their last five games, four of them in the wake of Kevin Keegan's resignation.

Kinnear is hoping the information he was able to pass on will ease the players' concerns and lead to improved performances.

He said: "I have had a long chat with Michael Owen and he told me that one of the problems with the players has been that they have been kept in the dark as to what is happening.

"Now after talking at length to Derek Llambias, I have been able to have a clear-the-air-talk with Michael in his role as skipper, and this has been passed on to the rest of the players.

"They are now up to date with what is going on and they are a lot happier."

Kinnear himself arrived at St James' Park last weekend in little doubt as to the ongoing situation after owner Mike Ashley asked him to take over for a matter of weeks as he attempts to offload the club.

Investment bankers Seymour Pierce have been appointed to push through the sale as a series of prospective buyers jockey for position.

A South African consortium, reportedly headed by businessman Jonathan Cleland, and a Nigerian group are understood to be among the would-be owners, although Kinnear hinted that his stay could be extended beyond the end of October.

He said: "I don't think so, to be honest, because I know for a fact Mike is talking to eight consortiums.

"I don't know the outcome of those. I haven't got a timescale on it, so I don't really know what the outcome is.

"But I know he is in talks with at least eight consortiums because he has told me that himself.

"Who they are, what they are, when it will happen, there is no timescale on it.

"I am contracted for eight games, but I assume that should due diligence and the deals go on a little bit longer, it may run into 10 or 12 games."

In the meantime, Kinnear will set about the task of trying to halt the run of defeats which has left the club second from bottom in the Barclays Premier League at Everton on Sunday.

Injuries and suspension continue to blight his options, although midfielder Danny Guthrie has completed his ban and full-backs Jose Enrique and Habib Beye could return from hamstring and Achilles problems respectively.

The inclusion of two specialist full-backs would be a boon for Kinnear, although he admits the fact that Steven Taylor is the only member of his first-choice back four who speaks English is a major drawback.

He said: "Fifty per cent of the players are foreign imports who don't speak English. There is only Steven Taylor who could possibly organise the rest, and that hasn't been happening.

"We need some serious voices on the pitch."

The fact that Enrique and Beye are nearing full fitness has prompted Kinnear to drop his interest in out-of-contract defender Stephen Carr, and his first new recruit could be an addition to his backroom staff after he revealed he is talking to "an England coach" about a part-time role.

Kinnear is relishing his task, but admits he has been taken aback by some of the negativity surrounding his appointment.

He said: "I'm very disappointed with it, to be honest. Most of it is trying to get me off on a bad footing, and that's what I can't understand.

"I've never had it before. I have had loads of bad publicity throughout my whole life and my Wimbledon days, and that seems to have carried through.

"But in football, you have to win matches to get rid of all that stuff and it will go on and on until I win a match."