Newcastle United news: Toon '˜open talks' to sign French defender, shock injury blow, McClaren not in denial

Newcastle United are preparing for tonight's big game against Stoke City '“ but have been rocked by a potential injury setback.

Samuel Umtiti, centre
Samuel Umtiti, centre

The Magpies travel to the Britannia Stadium, but may have to do without the services of Andros Townsend.

The January signing is a major injury doubt, with Miles Starforth reporting he faces a late fitness test this evening.

Elsewhere, Newcastle have been linked with a move for Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti in the summer.

The 22-year-old is highly regarded in France and has seven caps for their U21s.

“I was contacted in recent weeks by English agents who discussed the idea of Newcastle,” said Yannick Umtiti, who is his brother and agent.

Elsewhere, manager Steve McClaren insists Newcastle aren’t in denial over their precarious position in the Premier League.

“We know exactly what position we’re in,” he said. “We know the severity of it, and it isn’t like last season where it maybe sneaked up on us a bit.

“We’ve been in the bottom four or five for the whole season, so we know.”

Read McClaren’s full quotes on the situation here.

Meanwhile, as we build up to tonight’s game, have a go at our picture quiz on NUFC and Stoke players.