Newcastle United’s Phil Airey stakes claim for call-up after Leon Best injury blow

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PHIL Airey has staked his claim for a late-season call-up to Newcastle United’s first-team squad with another goal - as Leon Best looks set to miss the rest of the season.

In a significant blow to manager Alan Pardew, Best is set for an operation on his injured ankle.

Pardew had hoped the Irish international would be able to play on, but a specialist has confirmed the striker needs surgery on the problem which has kept him out of Newcastle’s last two games.

And the 24-year-old could miss the rest of the campaign, further depleting Pardew’s attacking options.

Best’s misfortune, however, could represent an opportunity for Airey, who has scored nine Premier Reserve League goals for Peter Beardsley’s second string this season.

Full story in today’s Mail.