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Bid to face Gunners


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Bid to face Gunners

Nov 16 2006


Shay Given spurned an Irish knees-up to report for training with Newcastle United today - and ready to walk into the lion's den which is the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.


Given marked his comeback following that horrific stomach injury sustained at West Ham on September 23 with a clean sheet in his 75th international for the Republic of Ireland in Dublin last night.


And while the rest of his colleagues were still in the showers after the 5-0 European Championship qualifying win over San Marino, Given and his United pal Damien Duff were on their way to the airport.


They arrived on Tyneside just after midnight and reported for training with United at 10am today.



Ireland's North East representative David Bowman told me today: "Everybody in our camp is delighted at the way Shay came back against San Marino.


"He only had to make a couple of saves, but his kicking and distribution were first class and our goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly could not have been more pleased with him.


"This was our last game at Lansdowne Road, and because Shay is such a legend, he had to do a lap of honour.


"But such is his commitment to Newcastle United that this was the last we saw of him because, with Damien Duff, he was soon on his way to the airport.


"Some keepers might not want to make a Premiership return at Arsenal, especially in the mood they are in at the moment, but I know Shay will not only want to play but will be expecting to be out there on Saturday."


Glenn Roeder is the man who must decide whether to bring back Given and leave Steve Harper who, his slip at Anfield apart, has been a truly magnificent deputy for the 30-year-old Irishman, on the substitutes bench.


Roeder told me today: "It's a difficult decision but that's what I am paid for.


"And all I can say at this moment is that we are so lucky to have two quality goalkeepers in Shay Given and Steve Harper."


As well as Given and Duff, James Milner, Seppe Rossi and Craig Moore, all of whom were on international duty this week, were all back in training today.


This only left Emre who will be back tomorrow after making his international comeback, hitting the post in Turkey's 1-1 draw with Italy.


Emre, of course, is suspended and it remains to be seen whether he travels to North London, but even though he is going to Colorado on Monday for his hip operation, Shola Ameobi could be on the plane.


United expect Titus Bramble to have recovered from his back injury, and with Celestine Babayaro out for another couple of weeks, Roeder could do with Stephen Carr recovering from a badly bruised toe.


The only disappointing news from the internationals was James Milner's 65th-minute substitution in England Under-21's win in Holland on Tuesday because he picked up a knock.


Reoder said: "Sammy Lee said he took James off because he had a knock so we will just have to wait and see."


By Alan Oliver, The Evening Chronicle

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