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Newcastle United have strengthened their squad for the promotion battle that lies ahead by signing Blackburn Rovers defender Zurab Khizanishvili on a three-month loan deal.

The 27-year-old has made only one appearance for Rovers this season, against Gillingham in the Carling Cup, and has been deemed surplus to requirements at Ewood Park.

Despite being strongly linked with a move to Middlesbrough, Khizanishvili now joins a Newcastle side that lost their unbeaten record on Wednesday night when succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road. He could make his debut in Saturday's game against Plymouth.

"Zurab is an experienced defender and we're very pleased to get him on board," caretaker mananger Chris Hughton told the club's official website. "He knows English football very well and will be a valuable addition to the squad over the coming months."

The Georgian defender joined Blackburn from Rangers in 2006 when heading south for a fee of £500,000.


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