ALAN Pardew will give Steven Taylor until the 11th hour to prove his fitness for Manchester United.
But the odds are against the defender making Newcastle United’s starting line-up on Sunday.
Taylor limped off in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Reading with a calf strain.
And the 26-year-old joins defensive colleague Fabricio Coloccini in the treatment room ahead of the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
But Danny Simpson, another recent defensive casualty, could return against his former club after recovering from a hamstring problem.
However, Pardew – whose team face Bordeaux at St James’s Park on Thursday night in the Europa League – could well be without Taylor and captain Coloccini.
And the club’s failure to sign a defender in the summer’s transfer window is coming back to haunt Pardew, who wants to sign a centre-half in January’s transfer window.
“I don’t think it’s really bad, if I’m honest, but it might keep him out for the rest of the week,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“It’s an area where we’re not strong at the minute, with Colo being injured as well.
“We’ll have to see what we’re going to do for the Bordeaux and Man United games.
“I’m not sure Steven’s completely out of Sunday, but he won’t play Thursday. It’s a calf strain.”
Taylor could be out for anything up to 10 days, and the injury was today being assessed and treated at the club’s Benton training ground.
Coloccini (hamstring) is touch and go for Man United after suffering an injury setback in Newcastle’s Capital One Cup defeat at Old Trafford last week.
The injuries to Coloccini and Taylor is likely to mean either Mike Williamson or James Perch will be rested against Bordeaux, as Pardew, already down to the bare bones, can ill-afford to lose another centre half.
And 20-year-old James Tavernier – who can play at right back and in the centre of defence – is on standby to play in the Europa League tie.
After the Man United game there is an international break, so Taylor and Coloccini, should they fail to prove their fitness in time, would be fit for the derby against Sunderland on October 21.