Every summer we hear the same rumours that goalkeeper Steve Harper is on his way because he cannot break into the first team. But this time we get the same stories prior to the transfer window in January.
The 30-year-old has warned Newcastle that Shay Given's offer of a new contract could have a major bearing on his future.
Both players have got 18 months to run on their existing contracts at the club. Should Shepherd persuade Given to extend his career in the North-East, it could spell the end for his capable deputy.
"I will be 32 when my contract is up and I don't want to retire at 36 having only played 130 games," said Harper, who, having played just four league games in four-and-a-half seasons, hopes to persuade Graeme Souness to sanction a loan move in the New Year.