NEWCASTLE will attempt to sign Craig Cathcart on loan next week after a series of deadline-day discussions failed to end in the Manchester United defender moving to St James’ Park.

While the Magpies added Peter Lovenkrands to their squad on Tuesday afternoon, a similar attempt to sign Cathcart ended in frustration.

Newcastle officials were hoping to pull off a £1.75m deal for the 20-year-old, who made 31 Championship appearances while on loan with Plymouth Argyle last season, but talks failed to reach a successful conclusion.

An attempt to sign Matthew Kilgallon proved similarly unsuccessful, but while Sheffield United will not consider loaning the centre-half to the Magpies, Sir Alex Ferguson is willing to sanction a loan move for Cathcart.

The Northern Irishman has not featured in a single senior Manchester United squad this season, and Ferguson is ready to loan out the youngster.

With 12 players having left St James’ Park since the end of last season, and only Lovenkrands and Danny Simpson having arrived, Newcastle’s squad is worryingly small.

Danny Guthrie insists his team-mates can cope, but with Shola Ameobi and Jonas Gutierrez already ruled out for the next three weeks, the Magpies midfielder admits the alarm bells will be ringing if injuries continue to mount.

“We need some good luck with injuries and then we should just about be okay,”

said Guthrie. “But I think the biggest worry we have is injuries and suspension. The squad is thin and it doesn’t look like we are going to get too many bodies in.”

Guthrie only arrived on Tyneside himself last July, but the former Liverpool trainee has already witnessed a series of seismic upheavals.

He has played under four different managers, witnessed supporters protesting against the club’s owner and suffered the indignity of relegation from the Premier League.

But having scored the goal that took Newcastle top of the Championship on Monday night, the 22-year-old insists there is nowhere he would rather be.

“It seems a funny thing to say given everything that has happened, but this is probably the happiest I’ve been at Newcastle United,” said Guthrie.

“It’s always a happy place when a football team is winning, and that is what we’re doing at the moment.

“I know things have not been ideal, but the dressing room has a completely different atmosphere to last year.

We’ve all pulled together and it’s a good place to be.

“We have found strength in adversity as a football club and I have to say the fans have been brilliant. They have made it really tough for sides to come up here and have turned up in their thousands.

It’s definitely had a big impact on the players.”

Almost 39,000 fans turned up to watch Monday night’s 1- 0 win, and Guthrie feels the faith of the Newcastle supporters will play a major role in determining the outcome of this season’s promotion push.

■ Newcastle’s game at Preston has been moved to Monday, November 23 (ko 7.45pm), to be screened live on Sky.