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Oct 29, 2008

Kinnear stakes claim to Toon job after win

Joe Kinnear staked a claim to become the full time manager at Newcastle United on Tuesday night after tasting victory for the first time in his four-match reign when the Magpies edged past promoted West Brom 2-1 in a game that remained up for grabs until the final whistle.

The victory at St James' Park lifted Kinnear's men out of the Premier League relegation zone and began the process of atonement to the Toon Army after Saturday's derby defeat at Sunderland.

But if things on the pitch are starting to turn, the uncertainty off it remains with owner Mike Ashley still looking to sell, and the interim manager again forced to admit he does not know how long his stay will last.

The 61-year-old former Wimbledon boss said: ''I go from day to day, to be honest. If it gets sold, it will be up to the new owner. I am only on a month-to-month contract, that was the deal before I took over.

''I am well aware I took over because lots of people turned that contract down, but as we go on, I live like everyone else, day to day.

''I have got no idea who is going to buy the place, but I can throw my hat in the ring whoever buys it. I am not going to get another chance like this.

''But I really don't know, to be honest. I know it is obviously for sale, but who is going to buy it, I have got no idea.''

Although the uncertainty around Newcastle persists Kinnear can at least reflect on a crucial win over the Baggies, a in which was only club's second league win of the season and the first since August. His decision to hand controversial midfielder Joey Barton his first start for the club since he was released from jail paid off handsomely when the 26-year-old converted a ninth-minute penalty to give his side a rare lead.

Although West Brom enjoyed plenty of possession - James Morrison forced an excellent 35th-minute save from Shay Given - Newcastle looked comfortable before half-time, and when Obafemi Martins, who had not scored since the opening weekend of the season, headed home Habib Beye's 42nd-minute cross, the victory seemed secure.

However, the home fans among a crowd of 45,801 had not banked on a subdued second-half display as the Baggies stepped up a gear and threatened to spoil the night for Barton and Kinnear.

Substitute Ishmael Miller took only 11 minutes to make his mark, running on to Robert Koren's defence-splitting pass to round Given and fire into the empty net, and had the Irishman not been at his alert best 17 minutes from time, he could have made it 2-2.

But Kinnear's men managed to hang on as a tense conclusion unfolded to bring some welcome relief to a club that has had little to celebrate since they last won in the league on August 23.

The Magpies boss said: ''We didn't want to dwell on the Sunderland disappointment, so I am really pleased that we got this game under our belts and we got a victory doing it.''

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