Shearer eyeing new partner

Last updated : 29 December 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Shearer has scored 15 Premiership goals this season, but his strike partners have managed just three between them – all from Shola Ameobi.

With no one certain when Craig Bellamy will be back and how long it will take him to regain his form when he does return, Ameobi seemingly better suited to the European stage than the hard grind of the Premiership, Michael Chopra lacking experience and Lomana LuaLua not looking good enough for the top-flight, the case for signing an experienced frontman to share the burden with Shearer is overwhelming.

The point clearly isn’t lost on the skipper, who when asked the question directly, replied: "I think that's pretty obvious, yes."

Of our recent form, he added: "Two points from nine is just not good enough. We showed a lot of character getting back to what fourth or fifth in the league after a dreadful start to our season, and now we are going to have to do exactly the same again because our last two results - at Leicester and against Blackburn - have not been good enough.

"A point at Charlton wasn't bad when you look at what happened to Chelsea at The Valley, but performances in our last two games have been unacceptable.

"Our real problem is that over the last two or three games, we have not been as creative as we can be. But the last two results have not been acceptable for this football team."

So Sir Bobby knows what the problem is and so do the players, but what they can do about it before the FA Cup clash with Southampton is another matter.