The Magpies have put together a run of five successive victories, four of them in the Barclays Premier League, to completely change the complexion of their season. However, they have lost men along the way to injury, some of them on the training ground, and that is something the manager and his coaching staff will look to address as they attempt to strike a balance between achieving the highest possible fitness levels and the demands that places on the squad. Press Association Pardew told the Shields Gazette: “I met my staff and we are going to change one or two things. We are pushing these players to the limit. We’re trying to get the maximum we can out of them, and if you do that, you are going to lose players here and there. “The other players, you can tell, are really super-fit, and we’re strong. But we still need a few more bodies back. “As a group, we have to make sure we protect the players and give them the best possible chance to be at their maximum on a Saturday. “We’re pushing the players, and we’re going to get injuries. We’re pushing them because we want them to be fitter and stronger than everybody else, and so you’ve got a balance there. “We’ve just got to make sure we get that right, because we lost one or two that perhaps we shouldn’t have.” Captain Fabricio Coloccini is one of the men currently on the casualty list, although he picked up his calf problem in the 2-0 win at West Brom last time out and could be missing for several weeks. With Steven Taylor battling a similar injury, the Magpies recalled 20-year-old Remie Streete from his loan spell at Port Vale last week, although Taylor is hopeful of being fit for QPR’s visit to St James’ Park on Saturday. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is to ease the workload on his players after admitting they have been pushed to the limit.
Irish siblings Sam and Chloe Magee had to settle for badminton mixed doubles bronze after losing their semi-final to French pair Gaeten Fontaine and Audrey Mittel on Saturday. The Magees rallied in the second set, but were beaten 21-12 23-21, giving Sam a second bronze medal having also reached the podium with brother Josh in the men’s doubles on Friday. And the Letterkenny 25-year-old pronounced himself “over the moon” with his haul after revealing he had been struggling with a back injury since arriving in Baku. Magee said: “I injured my back and the doctor told me I had to pull out, but the team said to come just to see what I can do. “I had no expectations at all. A week ago I couldn’t bend my back forward and I had given up on my dream of winning a medal. But once you get that close to gold, you want more.” Ireland’s Katie Taylor strengthened her claim to be the greatest women’s boxer of all time as she outpointed Estelle Mossely of France to claim the 18th major title of her career at the European Games in Baku. Taylor’s triumph was much more expected, and now only India’s six-time world champion Mary Kom can come anywhere close to eclipsing the Bray 28-year-old’s career achievement in women’s competition. Taylor said: “I felt a bit tired after my previous bout but I managed to pull through. My main goal is to go on to defend my Olympic title – I want to go down in history as the greatest female boxer of all time.” While Taylor enjoyed an easier final than her wafer-thin semi-final verdict over Azerbaijan’s Yana Alekseevna on Friday, she was still tested by Mosseley and admitted the strain of the competition had left her some way short of her best. The favourite struggled to find her range in a first round which one judge gave in favour of her opponent, but she was far more accurate with right hooks in the second, and pressed home her advantage in the second half of the contest. Taylor added: “I felt like she was causing me a small bit of trouble. I’ve had great preparation for this competition so it wasn’t the fitness at all, but yesterday’s bout took its toll mentally and physically really. “Sometimes you go into the ring feeling more tired than usual but you have to dig deep and pull through and I think that is the mark of a great champion.” If Taylor’s win was to be expected the same could not be said of 22-year-old Portlaoise middleweight O’Reilly, a relative newcomer to the Irish elite programme who was not given much of a chance against World Series of Boxing finalist Musalov. But O’Reilly caught his opponent off-guard with a furious start to claim the first round, and although he showed signs of tiring in a second which swung Musalov’s way, a rousing finale saw the unassuming O’Reilly scrape a deserved victory. Press Association Taylor conceded she was not at her best following a recent wrist injury but she still proved a cut above her competition as she added the inaugural lightweight gold to her Olympic crown and five world championship titles. And team-mate Michael O’Reilly made it double boxing gold for Ireland when he shocked home favourite Xaybula Musalov to claim the middleweight title in a rousing scrap in front of Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev.