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Owen likely to play for reserves

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Don't rush yourself, Owen is warned

Apr 16 2007

By Paul Gilder, The Journal

Michael Owen


Obafemi Martins might be in dire need of striking support at St James's Park, but Nicky Butt last night advised Michael Owen not to rush his Newcastle comeback to provide it.


Owen will aim to take another step closer to his Premiership return this week and a player who could get his first competitive action in 10 months during tomorrow's reserve team fixture at Middlesbrough has not been ruled out of Sunday's game with Chelsea.


There is little question that having scored just three goals in their last seven league matches, Glenn Roeder's misfiring Magpies will require the England international's attacking input to stand any chance of completing the season on a vaguely-positive note. Butt, though, has urged the £17m striker to put himself first after telling Owen he should not make himself available until he is certain the time is right.


"Obafemi needs some support but we can't rush Michael," said the midfielder, whose performance as captain was among the scant bright points for Newcastle during Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Fratton Park.


"He's a massive player for us, any team in the world would welcome Michael back with open arms and we're no different. But the most-important thing for him is to get fit and well and kick on for next season.


"It's a difficult balancing act for the manager but Michael's still young and one of the top forwards in Europe. He needs to be careful and not ruin himself."


Roeder is reluctant to set the fit-again forward targets but having admitted that there is a chance that Owen could be involved against Chelsea, tomorrow's second string fixture at the Riverside Stadium could be a significant one for a player who played 75 minutes during a practice game against Gretna.


The striker's return would be a major fillip to the club's fading bid for an Intertoto Cup place.


In the meantime, Freddie Shepherd is preparing to go to war with the Football Association regarding his claim for adequate compensation for Owen's absence.


The United chairman, who will have been infuriated following reports that Manchester United are preparing to bid for the 27-year-old, last night threatened legal action against the FA having seen a long-running dispute reach an impasse.


Shepherd also suggested Owen's services could be denied England this summer unless the matter is resolved.




From the Journal.


I'll be going down so i'll give a match report when I get back :D

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