Steve McClaren looks to address Newcastle United’s goal-scoring woes

Charlie Austin is a wanted man
Charlie Austin is a wanted man

Steve McClaren has highlighted Newcastle United’s biggest problem ahead of the January transfer window – a lack of goals.

McClaren’s relegation-threatened side are two points adrift of Premier League safety ahead of Saturday’s game against leaders Arsenal.

We do need more goals and that we’re working behind the scenes to address that

Steve McClaren

Newcastle have scored 19 goals from in their first 19 games – six of those game in one match – and unless the team starts scoring, it will go down.

McClaren, up to now, has refused to talk about next month’s window despite its importance, though he has admitted to “discussions” behind the scenes.

However, the club, which was interested in signing Charlie Austin from Queens Park Rangers last summer, is understood to be prioritising a striker in the New Year.

McClaren’s refusal to acknowledge the pressing need for reinforcements has irritated some fans.

Asked if he understood their frustration at a lack of information, he said: “Absolutely. Absolutely.

“I understand fully where you’re coming from, believe you me. I think I’ve said enough to say that we do need more goals and that we’re working behind the scenes to address that.”

McClaren will again be without the injured Papiss Cisse at the Emirates Stadium, while Emmanuel Riviere is closing in on a comeback from knee surgery.

“Well, at the present moment we’ve only got (Aleksandar) Mitrovic who’s fit,” said McClaren.

“Cisse is injured, and Manu will take a few weeks to get up to match fitness so we have to keep working hard.

“Keep working, keep working hard on the training field, keep believing in them, and give as much confidence as we can and hope they deliver on the field.”