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Page last updated at 22:00 GMT, Saturday, 11 April 2009 23:00 UK

Shearer expects 'fight to wire'

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We showed character - Shearer

Temporary Newcastle boss Alan Shearer remains optimistic the club can maintain their Premier League status after they drew 1-1 with Stoke City.

"It will go right to the wire and nerves will jangle, but I believe in my players," Shearer told BBC Sport.

"Players threw their bodies on the line, threw themselves into tackles and were prepared to get cut today.

"We're going to need all of that, and a little bit more if we are to survive, but the fight is there," he added.

It needed an 81st-minute goal from Gateshead-born substitute Andy Carroll to cancel out Abdoulaye Faye's 33rd-minute opener, to earn Newcastle's first point under Shearer.

606: DEBATE

The result leaves the side two points from safety with six league games left to play.

"After going a goal down I thought they handled the situation," said Shearer.

"There have been too many times this season when Newcastle have conceded a goal, then crumbled and conceded another.

"In the second half I thought they showed me what they had done in training during the week - the attitude of the players has been great.

"They showed they can pass it, they can play, and with a little bit more confidence and belief in themselves then we will go on and get results - certainly that's the aim.

"I take great heart from that because I've now seen it in a game. We've done it for 45 minutes, but we now have to do it in every game we play."

Shearer also voiced his concern at the late withdrawal from the squad of Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins.

"He informed us just three hours before kick off that he had a sore groin and would be unable to play, which was disappointing.

"There was no evidence of this earlier in the week and we'd spent two days practising a system which we weren't able to implement," Shearer told the Newcastle club website.

"We've asked him to explain it and we'll have a look at him on Monday to see how bad the injury is."

Since taking over as manager, Shearer has been keen to reduce Newcastle's crippling injury list, but Martins injury will is blow to his hope of "clearing the medical room".



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see also
Saturday's football photos
11 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
11 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Stoke 1-1 Newcastle
11 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Butt praises Shearer's influence
09 Apr 09 |  Newcastle
Shearer remains defiant in defeat
05 Apr 09 |  Football
Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea
02 Apr 09 |  Premier League


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