`

Steve McClaren sweating on fitness of Newcastle pair for West Brom match

Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba
Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba

Steve McClaren will today assess Chancel Mbemba and Jack Colback ahead of Newcastle United’s game against West Bromwich Albion.

McClaren lost three defenders to injury and suspension in midweek.

The relegation-threatened club’s head coach has an unwelcome defensive headache for the West Brom match.

Mbemba is doubtful for tomorrow’s home game after suffering a recurrence of an ankle problem in Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat to Everton.

And the odds are against Mbemba lining up against Tony Pulis’s side.

“Chancel had had a knock in training and hadn’t trained for a while,” said McClaren. “He passed a fitness test, but it looks as though he’s redone that.”

Dummett was also forced off at Goodison Park, while Jamaal Lascelles is suspended for West Brom’s visit to St James’s Park after his late dismissal.

McClaren, without a recognised left-back, hopes to have Jack Colback back for the game.

The midfielder, able to cover for Dummett, is battling to be fit for fixture, having missed the last two games with a hamstring problem.

If Colback fails to prove his fitness, McClaren could again field winger Rolando Aarons at full-back.

Centre-half Steven Taylor – who has recovered from the hamstring problem which has kept him out since August – has been put on standby to make his comeback against Albion.

“We’ve got Steven Taylor, who is coming back to fitness,” said McClaren. “We have to look at the wounded and get a team out for Saturday.”

McClaren admitted after the Everton match that the club had attempted to sign a left-back before Monday night’s transfer deadline.

“With the left-back, we really tried to bring someone in, but failed to do so,” said McClaren, under intense pressure with Newcastle 18th in the Premier League and two points adrift of safety.

“But that’s just one of those things that happens. It was unfortunate that all the problems came in defence.”