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Fresh from their 4-0 weekend win England now face Ukraine in a crucial World Cup 2010 qualifier on Wednesday. See all the early betting here.

Alan Shearer is set to make a surprise return to Newcastle United and become the next manager at St James’s Park.

The former striker, in the absence of Joe Kinnear, is expected to be officially unveiled on Thursday.

Shearer appears to be under no illusions as to the scale of the task ahead. When asked last week about Newcastle’s situation, he said: “It will be one hell of a battle. It will be one hell of a fight.

”It will be tough. We have some tough games coming up. I don’t think anyone can safely say that we are going to be guaranteed safety.”

Shearer, who played for the Magpies from 1996 from 2006, has long been expected to take charge at the club at some point but it is something of a surprise that he has chosen to do so at a time when Newcastle are mired in a relegation battle.

Newcastle sit third from bottom of the Premier League and have turned to their popular former striker after a desperate run of form under the caretaker manager, Chris Hughton, and amid concerns over the health of Kinnear.

Kinnear is recovering from triple heart bypass surgery and he was due to meet cardiologists next Monday to determine if he was fit to return to the touchline.

Kinnear himself was a replacement for Kevin Keegan who departed this season after falling out with the club’s owner Mike Ashley.

With the possibility of the club dropping out of the Premier League for the first time since 1993, Ashley has seemingly been able to attract the only man as popular in the city as Kevin Keegan.

Shearer becomes the fourth person to lead the club this season, with Ashley finally deciding he could no longer allow the side to drift under Hughton while waiting for Kinnear to recover from surgery. Shearer could bring Rob Lee, his close friend and former Newcastle team-mate, on to his coaching staff.

Fresh from their 4-0 weekend win England now face Ukraine in a crucial World Cup 2010 qualifier on Wednesday. See all the early betting here.

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