INJURED Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini’s confident the club can find strength through adversity this season.
Coloccini is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against West Bromwich Albion.
The 31-year-old limped off the pitch at The Hawthorns on New Year’s Day with medial ligament damage.
And the loss of Coloccini compounded the dismissal in the same game of right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who will miss the next three matches through suspension.
However, Coloccini believes Newcastle – who take on Cardiff City at St James’s Park in the FA Cup’s third round tomorrow – will have the mental strength to come through testing times this season.
“In the year we will have bad times,” Coloccini told the Gazette. “We will have to be strong in the mind.
“When the bad times come, we will have to have the right attitude and spirit.”
Debuchy played a key role in the club’s winning run late last year, while Coloccini had been a steadying influence in the centre of defence after returning from a groin problem in late November.
Meanwhile, United are not interested in signing Everton’s unsettled defender Johnny Heitinga in this month’s transfer window.
The 30-year-old this week rejected down a move to relegation-threatened West Ham United.
And Jack Sullivan – the son of the club’s co-owner David – claimed on Twitter that Heitinga had “chosen” Newcastle.
Sullivan later backtracked, and tweeted: “We now understand heitinga’s decision was not influenced by interest from any other Club.”
And the Gazette understands Heitinga is not a target for the Tynesiders.
Heitinga – who is out of contract at Goodison Park in the summer – hasn’t made a Premier League appearance for Everton this season.
Speaking about his proposed move to Upton Park, Heitinga said: “You have to be convinced that you are taking the right step, and I was not.
“It is not about money, because that was not the problem with a move to West Ham.
“I’m confident I will find another club before 31 January.”
n STOKE City manager Mark Hughes has been find £8,000 by the Football Association after admitting an improper conduct charge over his touchline dismissal in the club’s 5-1 defeat to Newcastle at St James’s Park on Boxing Day.