Defensive crisis hits McClaren ahead of crunch home clash with West Brom

Aaron Lennon (left) fires home Everton's opener against Newcastle last night

Aaron Lennon (left) fires home Everton's opener against Newcastle last night

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Steve McClaren has a defensive crisis on his hands at relegation-threatened Newcastle United.

The Tynesiders lost three defenders in last night’s 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.

Newcastle were beaten by a first-half goal from Aaron Lennon and two late penalties from Ross Barkley.

Head coach McClaren lost Paul Dummett and Chancel Mbemba to injuries.

And Jamaal Lascelles will miss Saturday’s home game against West Brom through suspension after being sent off for a bringing down Barkley in the box in injury time.

United remain 18th in the Premier League and two points adrift of safety.

The club had tried – and failed – to sign a left-back on loan in the January transfer window, which closed on Monday night.

“In terms of blows, injuries and the level of performance, that was a very disappointing night,” said McClaren.

“Chancel had had a knock in training and hadn’t trained for a while. He passed a fitness test (on Tuesday), but it looks as though he’s redone that.

“It’s the same with Paul Dummett, in terms of a tight hamstring. He’d been training for four or five days, and we felt he would be OK, so hopefully we got him off before it became too serious.

“We’ll have to assess those two.

“In terms of things that could go wrong, they did go wrong. That was the case with the injuries, but we’ll just have to dust ourselves down, see who we’ve got fit, and make sure we give a reaction against West Brom.”

Steven Taylor, back fit after recovering from a long-term hamstring problem, is set to come into McClaren’s starting XI against West Bromwich Albion.

McClaren said: “We’ve got enough centre-halves with Steven Taylor, Jamaal Lascelles, Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini.”

United had looked at signing cover for the left-back position in the window.

McClaren said: “With the left-back, we really tried to bring someone in, but failed to do so.

“But that’s just one of those things that happens. It was unfortunate that all the problems came in defence.”