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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 15:45 GMT
Duff issues warning to Newcastle
Damien Duff
Duff has struggled for form like the rest of team-mates
Newcastle winger Damien Duff says the club are facing a relegation battle after a miserable run of results.

The Magpies have taken just two points from a possible 12 since Kevin Keegan took over as manager and are just six points off the relegation places.

"We are in a fight. Relegation hasn't been mentioned in team-talks because we are trying to stay positive.

"But anyone who has got half a brain can see we need to pick up points, and the sooner the better," said Duff.

Newcastle, who were beaten 4-1 by Aston Villa on Saturday, last won a Premier League game on 15 December when they beat Fulham under former boss Sam Allardyce.

606: DEBATE

Their next match is on 23 February against Manchester United, who recently beat them 6-0 at Old Trafford.

"We have got a lot of work to do," added Duff. "We are way off what Newcastle United expects.

"It's probably a good thing we haven't got a game as it gives us two weeks to work on the training ground."

Keegan has admitted the club are precariously placed and has targeted the 40-point mark that should be enough to avoid the drop.

"We are fragile," he said after the loss to Villa. "I believe we have enough to be a Premier League club next season but I'm under no illusions that we need to get to the 40-point mark.

"I have a big challenge. It's not a case of me coming in and waving a magic wand but it's down to me to solve it."

He added: "These players have taken a lot of knocks. We need spirit and togetherness."

  • Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton could be in trouble with the Football Association after allegedly taking a swing at Villa's Shaun Maloney.

    The incident was not seen by referee Lee Mason and BBC Sport understands the FA is set to look at the video evidence before making a decision.

    Barton only returned to action recently after spending a week remanded in prison on assault and affray charges, followed by a spell on bail at the Sporting Chance clinic in Hampshire.

    SEE ALSO
    Aston Villa 4-1 Newcastle
    09 Feb 08 |  Premier League
    Newcastle 'want top six finish'
    20 Jan 08 |  Newcastle United
    Keegan vows Magpies will improve
    19 Jan 08 |  Newcastle United
    Keegan welcomes change in Barton
    01 Feb 08 |  Newcastle United
    Barton free to play for Newcastle
    29 Jan 08 |  Newcastle United
    Barton in court on assault charge
    16 Jan 08 |  Merseyside


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