By Kevin Phillips

16th Nov, 2021 | 6:00pm

Newcastle tipped to avoid relegation after source's update on triple January swoop - Phillips

Newcastle United can beat the drop if two quality defenders and a midfielder are signed in January, according to Kevin Phillips.

The ex-Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, said making the Magpies hard to beat will be new manager Eddie Howe’s top priority this season.

Newcastle director Amanda Staveley told NUFC TV her staff are already “preparing for the January transfer window”.

On 11 November, Football Insider revealed the club plan to recruit two centre-backs and a central midfielder proven at the highest level.

However, Phillips fears quality players will turn down a move to St. James’ Park if the Magpies are cut adrift by the new year.

“Centre-half and central-midfield are the two positions which are priority,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs.

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“Howe knows he has a striker who can get him goals in Callum Wilson. The challenge there will be keeping him fit. I think he is a brilliant player.

“If he can get a couple of players to sure up that defence they’ve got a great chance of staying up.

“Howe needs to make them hard to beat and hard to break down.

“The worry is that they have got to wait until January. If they do not get a few results between now and then it will become very difficult to attract players. They need quality players to come in to help them.

“I’m sure that defence is getting worked every day now. There will be no days off.”

In other news, a pundit has claimed Newcastle have a “big problem” after an update on talks with Michael Emenalo.