Newcastle United have dismissed newspaper reports suggesting they have sacked Alan Shearer from his ambassadorial role at the club.
Several papers suggested Magpies owner Mike Ashley, who has spoken of his intention to sell the club he bought only 16 months ago, had stripped the former United legend of his duties at St James' Park.
However, the club insist the stories are wrong and have issued a statement that reads: "Alan Shearer had a contract for ambassadorial duties which ran out at the end of last season.
"As a gesture of goodwill from the club, Alan was given a complimentary corporate box back in June for use at St James' Park and the club continues to have an excellent relationship with its all-time greatest goalscorer.
"Any suggestion that Alan was stripped of this role because of recent events is completely inaccurate."
Meanwhile, on the pitch injured duo Obafemi Martins and Damien Duff are close to a return to first-team action and could feature in this weekend's Premier League encounter with West Ham United.
Martins picked up a groin problem in last month's win against Bolton Wanderers while Duff sustained a knee injury in the same game.
Caretaker coach Chris Hughton told the club's official website: "I don't think we'll have any players back for West Ham but we're probably more optimistic about Damien Duff and Oba Martins.
"They're probably the two that are closest and it would be very welcome for them to come back."