Broken jaw for Taylor after training bust-up
NEWCASTLE United have launched an internal investigation after Steven Taylor suffered a broken jaw in a training-ground altercation with another of the club's players. Taylor's jaw was fractured after he was punched by one of his team-mates, and club officials are conducting a series of interviews before launching disciplinary action. Taylor is understood to have received medical treatment after the incident, which occurred at Newcastle's Benton training ground. The club refused to make an official comment on the events yesterday evening, but the other player involved in the fracas is not expected to be involved in tonight's Championship game at Doncaster Rovers. Taylor will not be travelling to South Yorkshire either, but that is because of a longstanding knee problem rather than the after-effects of the altercation. Ironically, the central defender has only just returned to training following the removal of a brace that was protecting knee ligaments that were damaged in January. He is yet to join in a full training session, and was indoors when an argument broke out. That argument eventually turned violent, and Taylor was left in considerable pain after at least one punch was thrown. A number of other players are understood to have been involved in breaking up the melee, and the entire squad was called together in a hastily- arranged meeting in which it was agreed that no one would comment publicly on the matter. The flash point is the latest in a number of unsavoury incidents to have affected Newcastle in recent seasons and, ironically, came as another of the club's bad boys, midfielder Joey Barton, prepared to return to first-team action for the first time in more than six months. Barton has been included in the squad for tonight's trip to the Keepmoat Stadium, but is not expected to dislodge either Kevin Nolan or Danny Guthrie from the starting line-up. Alan Smith should also be available for Monday's crucial home game with Nottingham Forest, and manager Chris Hughton faces a difficult balancing act in the final nine matches of the season. On the one hand, Barton offers the kind of mobility and energy that Newcastle's midfield has occasionally lacked this season, but on the other, the Magpies manager must be careful not to disrupt a midfield unit that has functioned effectively for the majority of the campaign. Any player you can get back to add to the squad is a real boost, said Hughton. Joey has shown in his training that he's desperate to get back involved. He's trained very well in the last couple of weeks after building up his fitness and that's an indication of how desperate he is to be involved. We haven't really had many issues with him. He's a competitive individual who wants to play. He enjoys playing, so I think for him the only points he can prove are just playing more regularly. He'll always be a target for opponents and supporters, but that's something he's had to accept. His only way round it is to concentrate on football, but unfortunately he hasn't been able to play as much as he would have liked. Fitz Hall has joined Peter Lovenkrands on the injury list, and the defender is expected to be absent for a month after damaging his hamstring at the weekend. Mike Williamson has an outside chance of being involved at the Keepmoat Stadium, but with the former Portsmouth centre-half more likely to return against Forest, Tamas Kadar is set to deputise alongside Fabricio Coloccini. Kadar played the final 40 minutes against Bristol City, and while Hughton might have established a reputation as one of the most reserved managers in Newcastle's recent history, the mild-mannered Magpies boss has revealed he read the riot act during the half-time interval at Ashton Gate. It's part and parcel of being a manager, he said. You have to show aggression at times and there are also times when you have to get into players. At half-time, you have to get over to players what needs to be done to get back into a game. Sometimes, that's about attitude, but the majority of the time it's tactical and about players fulfilling roles. You'll see a different side of me at times, but that's normal. I'm learning all the time. You speak to other managers and get little bits of advice from them about situations and you see how they deal with it. But you have to manage within your own personality. If you're starting to show things that don't come so naturally to you, people see through that. NEWCASTLE (4-4-2): Harper; Simpson, Coloccini, Kadar, Enrique; Routledge, Nolan, Guthrie, Gutierrez; Best, Ranger.
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