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Kinnear heart operation confirmed

Newcastle United have confirmed that manager Joe Kinnear will undergo heart bypass surgery on Friday which will sideline him for at least eight weeks.

Kinnear, 62, who had a heart attack 10 years ago while the manager of Wimbledon, was taken ill at the team's hotel before last Saturday's 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion and has remained in hospital since.

In a statement the club also confirmed that assistant manager Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood would take charge of the side in their battle against relegation until Kinnear is well enough to return.

Kinnear said: "I've really appreciated all the get-well messages I've received from people over the last week and I'd like to thank everyone who has been in touch."

Managing director Derek Llambias added: "I am sure the whole football community will join Newcastle United in wishing Joe a speedy recovery."

Although the Newcastle maintain the Kinnear will return as manager upon his recovery press reports are already linking former Middlesbrough boss Bryan Robson and Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce with the post.

Kinnear took over as Newcastle's interim manager at the end of September following the departure of Kevin Keegan and was originally appointed on a short-term contract which was later extended to the end of the season.

Last week's win at West Bromich Albion took Newcastle to 13th in the Premier League but they remain just four points clear of the drop zone.

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