Speed out, Woody doubt

Last updated : 22 April 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Sir Bobby has given up hope of Speed returning this season after he aggravated his groin injury on international duty and he will now have an operation to cure the problem.

Woodgate limped out of Monday’s game with Aston Villa with a hamstring injury (arguably costing us a victory) and is a major doubt for the Mackems game.

"Jonathan has a slight knee injury which we have been aware of for the last two weeks. He has been playing slightly hampered but yesterday he had the beginning of a slight hamstring strain," Sir Bobby explained to the Evening Chronicle.

"We knew about it at half-time but told him to go back out and let us know within 10 minutes whether he could play on. But had he stayed on the hamstring might just have gone so we protected that and got him off at the right time.

"Now it remains to be seen whether he will be fit for Saturday."

Jermaine Jenas and Laurent Robert look almost certain to sit out the game, but Alan Shearer should be fit despite his head injury.

You get the feeling that Shearer would play in a derby game if he needed to be held together with sticking plaster, which is a good job considering the number of injuries he is carrying at the minute.

Shot-shy striker Kevin Phillips looks set to miss the game for the Mackems after picking up an injury in their 3-0 defeat at Man City.