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Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final

Football
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By ESPN Staff

Keegan no easy fix to fog on the Toon

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan insists he never expected to work an instant miracle at St James' Park. The 57-year-old will send his side out against Blackburn tomorrow knowing nothing short of a victory - something he has not yet experienced in the six games since he replaced Sam Allardyce - will quell a growing sense of unease on Tyneside. With no Premier League win in 10 and only two in their last 18, the Magpies have slipped to within just six points of the relegation zone and are squirming uncomfortably with just 11 matches to play. Keegan's assessment of the situation is that his side need four wins to add to the paltry 28 points they have collected to date before they can draw a line under a disastrous campaign. But with the euphoria surrounding his appointment having long dissipated, he is adamant there was never going to be any easy solution. Keegan said: 'We need to get to 40 points. I think 40 will be enough, although I may be proved wrong even on that. 'But we are just in the early stages of rebuilding here, and this instant quick-fix thing was never going to happen.' Last Saturday's 5-1 home defeat by Manchester United proved the lowest point in a run of results which has severely dented confidence. However, Keegan is confident progress is being made off the pitch - where new assistant boss Chris Hughton has had an input this week. The manager said: 'I have seen improvements on the training ground, definitely, but those improvements as yet have not gone on to the pitch - where it really matters. 'If we get the training up to the standard we need and the quality we need - and by that I mean competitive in the right way, a good spirit around the place, but games even in practice meaning something - then that will go on to the big pitch. 'My belief always had been, having been in football a lot of years as a player and then as a manager as well, that is usually the way it works. 'What happens out on the training ground, if it is not good, goes into the games - and if it is good, it goes into the games.' Keegan will hope to have Emre, Mark Viduka and - for the first time - Obafemi Martins back at his disposal after their recoveries from injury, although Shay Given is out after a recurrence of his groin problems. Keegan is hoping the fans too can play their part after a traumatic few weeks, knowing just how much an impact they can make from his own playing days. He said: 'The crowd made a difference then, and they will make a difference now - as they always have at this football club.'