Toon Players Wrapped In Cotton Wool!

Last updated : 02 January 2009 By Footy Mad - Editor
I'm not suggesting players are pulling the wool over Kinnear's eyes, but it is remarkable how the medical room at St James' Park fills up following an embarrassing defeat.

And defeats don't come any more embarrassing than that at SJP on Sunday when Liverpool could have scored 12!

The club's injury list reached double figures in the aftermath of the 5-1 Premier League defeat and Kinnear admits he will not know until today who he will have at his disposal for the FA Cup third-round trip to Hull.

French defender Sebastien Bassong will return from a one-match ban, while Jose Enrique, Nicky Butt and Shola Ameobi will have late fitness tests.

Habib Beye, Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins, Claudio Cacapa and Joey Barton are among the long-term absentees, and Kinnear doesn't know who else will come down with Amazon Swamp Rat Disease before the trip to Hull.

Kinnear: "It's been more or less a case of cancelling training and wrapping all of my players up in cotton wool, and then we will see if we can get 11 out for Hull.

"It's tough, but it's my job to keep them all up for it. I have to face it, and it is my job to lift whoever is fit to play.

"In terms of injuries, we have gone backwards since I arrived here.

"We didn't have any full-backs to begin with and now we are back to that with Habib out for two months and Enrique struggling.

"We have several injuries we are sweating on, and the pain in the neck is that I won't know what my team is likely to be until Friday."

Spanish flop Xisco is off his 'death bed', allegedly, and available for selection.

But expect Kinnear to be forced to include youngsters Tamas Kadar, Kazenga LuaLua and Andy Carroll on the bench at Hull.