GRAEME Souness last night revealed that he has resorted to emotional blackmail in an attempt to make Alan Shearer reconsider his decision to retire at the end of the season.

Despite limping out of last weekend's 1-0 win over Chelsea with a hamstring strain, Shearer is expected to line up alongside strike partner Patrick Kluivert this evening as Newcastle look to book their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.

The United skipper has already played a significant role in dumping Dutch side Heerenveen out of the competition, as his equaliser in last week's first leg paved the way for Lee Bowyer's impudent backheel that leaves the Magpies in the driving seat at St James' Park.

Last week's leveller was Shearer's 23rd European goal for the club - 12 more than anyone else can boast - and the 34-year-old now needs just 13 more to equal Jackie Milburn's all-time record.

But, whether he reaches that mark or not, the former England international remains determined to hang up his boots at the end of the current campaign.

Souness has tried everything to make Shearer change his mind and, with time rapidly running out, the Scot has even tried to use his skipper's emotional attachment to Tyneside as a persuasive tool.

Gosforth-born Shearer has regularly spoken of his love for the Magpies, and Souness has urged him to prove his loyalty by shelving his retirement plans.

"This is his football club," said the United boss, who remains unbeaten in continental competition with Newcastle ahead of tonight's tie. "He is a lover of Newcastle United.

"I have played on his emotions by saying 'The best thing for Newcastle United, if you really love this club, would be for you to stay next year'.

"I'm putting pressure on him, but he's an old fox and he has heard it all before. I want him here no matter what happens next year.

"I talk to him all the time about what's happening at the club. I have told him what I want from him, what I expect from him, and how much I want him here next year."

Providing his hamstring problem does not worsen, Shearer will resume his partnership with Kluivert this evening as Newcastle look to book a last-16 tie with either Greek side Olympiakos or group-stage opponents Sochaux.

The Dutch international looked more like his own self as he laid on both United goals in last week's first leg, before underlining his prodigious striking ability with the bullet header that beat Chelsea on Sunday.

Kluivert has struggled to settle since moving from Barcelona in the summer but, while Souness remains undecided on whether to keep him on Tyneside next season, he expects the former European Cup winner to provide the perfect foil to Shearer.

"In the past, Patrick has played all his best football as an out-and-out striker," he said. "That's how I see him playing now - right up there.

"If you're a proper player, you grasp these things (partnerships) right away. You see what your team-mates are doing and you understand the situation very quickly.

"Good players work each other out, that's an attribute of a top player and it means your football brain is functioning well.

"I have no worries about them (Kluivert and Shearer). They don't need time to play together."

Newcastle's performance in the first leg means that Heerenveen will have to score at least twice if they are to over-turn the odds this evening. The Dutch side ran out of steam in the Abe Lenstra Stadium seven days ago but, during the first half, winger Ugur Yildirim and striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar did enough to suggest the Magpies will not have it all their own way in the return.

United have thrown away countless winning positions already this season and, while their manager fully expects them to progress tonight, he will make sure his players approach the game fearing the worst.

"We would be foolish in the extreme if we thought the hard part was done," said Souness. "I played in a lot of European games and, sometimes, it is harder to play at home than it is away.

"We have to fear the worst, we have to go out thinking they will get an early goal and make sure that doesn't happen.

"They have got the lad who takes the free-kicks (Yildirim). He's the world champion - whatever that means - and he's an obvious danger.

"If we give a free-kick away in a foolish area, we could find ourselves a goal down very quickly and it would be game on.

"If we go out fearing the worst, we won't go far wrong. We have to think the worst all the time and keep ourselves on the edge."

With Jean-Alain Boumsong cup-tied, Souness will be hoping that fellow centre-half Andy O'Brien shakes off a minor hamstring problem ahead of tonight's game.

The Republic of Ireland international should start but, if he misses out, the United boss will have to name either Aaron Hughes or Steven Taylor alongside Titus Bramble.

Lee Bowyer is suspended following his late dismissal in the first leg.

Amdy Faye is available again after serving a domestic suspension on Sunday but Souness is likely to stick with the same midfield four that saw off Chelsea