Alan Shearer delivers damning verdict on his beloved Newcastle's survival hopes

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has had his say on his old club's survival hopes after their defeat to Watford at the weekend.

The Magpies seemed to be on the up after following up their last gasp 3-3 draw against Manchester United with a 2-1 win over West Ham United.

With Aston Villa already looking destined for the drop, Newcastle are involved in a dogfight with bitter rivals Sunderland, Norwich City, Bournemouth and Swansea City to fill the other two relegation places.

And they remain in the relegation zone after a 2-1 defeat to Watford last time out.

Steve McClaren's side now face a daunting February when they face the likes of Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Stoke City.

The Magpies took their spending to over £70 million in the last six months with the signing of Andros Townsend this week.

'Relegation a genuine reality'

But Newcastle's all-time leading goalscorer and one-time manager Shearer has expressed doubts over their survival prospects in his latest column on Coral.

"I saw them (Newcastle) against West Ham the other week and it was their best home performance in a long time, but then they go back to their old tricks against Watford at the weekend," Shearer wrote on Coral.

"Newcastle need to score goals, they can’t keep missing chances.

"They are third bottom for a reason.

"Dropping down to the championship is now a genuine reality; nobody expected them to be in this position."

Mitrovic must sharpen finishing

Things could look so different right now for Newcastle if a certain Aleksandar Mitrovic had brought his scoring boots with him from Anderlecht.

The Serbian international scored 36 goals in 69 games for the Belgian side before his move to St James Park but has only managed four in 19 games in the English top flight.

While his workrate and effort have been commendable, he is guilty of missing a host of chances at crucial times which have ended up costing Newcastle dear this season.

He could yet turn out to be the hero, though, if he can find some form in front of goal an consistency given that McClaren's men are just two points from safety on the coattails of Norwich City.

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