Souness aim is for new players

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The goalless draw against the promoted West Ham sparked a fans' backlash and led to claims that the manager is on the brink of losing his job. The Magpies created only a handful of chances with the lone striker Alan Shearer isolated against the Hammers defence, even when the Londoners were reduced to 10 men. The chairman Freddy Shepherd was swift to dismiss the suggestion that Souness' position was under threat, and the Scot refused to fan the flames as he prepared for tomorrow night's trip to Bolton.

"I am more concerned with trying to sign players and at the same time we are focusing on Wednesday's game with Bolton Wanderers," he told the Evening Chronicle. "I am not in on the conversations with the agents and clubs that we are trying to buy players from, but we need a couple of goal-getters to take the burden off Alan.

"We need a few more door-openers and a person to put the ball in the back of the net. The new players we have brought in have been good players and I think if we were to get the cutting edge, we would be a formidable team."

The striker Shola Ameobi has completed his three-match ban and will be available for selection at Bolton, but Souness was hoping yesterday for a breakthrough in his pursuit of the Deportivo La Coruña striker Albert Luque. He confirmed at the weekend that the Magpies have agreed terms with the player, who has been left out of the squad for tomorrow's Intertoto Cup final second-leg clash with Marseilles.

It is understood a proposal to include Portuguese midfielder Hugo Viana as a makeweight has been rejected and Newcastle's cash offer of about £7.5m is below the Spaniards' valuation.