It looks like there is chance that Michael Owen may be included in the squad for todays game at the JJB stadium against Wigan Athletic, at least as a substitute.
Michael Owen – could be a substitute today
Sam told the Newcastle Journal today:
â€œMichaelâ€™s fit again and I hope thatâ€™s the end of it for a long time,â€
Well, itâ€™s certainly amen to that otherwise Michaelâ€™s time at Newcastle will go down as one of the most affected by injury ever since in 28 months at the club he has started 21 games, appeared in 25 and scored just 10 goals for the club in that time.
Also the treatment room at Newcastle is now starting to look sparse which has to be good news for Newcastle Unitedâ€™s manager, for a change. Sam continued:
â€œFrom here weâ€™ve got more players available for selection than weâ€™ve had all season and thatâ€™s important for the four games that are coming up against Wigan, Chelsea, Manchester City and Stoke over the next 12 days.â€
â€œIf Michael needs to be used, weâ€™ll consider using him, even if he is short of match practice,â€ â€œHeâ€™s fit and it might be that he makes a contribution (this Christmas).”
“It could be small contribution but when you have a goalscorer like Michael, it could be crucial. Using him sparingly, thatâ€™s something weâ€™re considering. Heâ€™s back in the fold again, and thatâ€™s great for us all.â€
The timing could not be better for a manager seeking to sharpen up our attacking options today but such are Owenâ€™s injury problems, undue risks just cannot be taken with the England striker.
â€œYou have to remember that Michael has been out for several weeks and has had no match practice,â€
â€œDamien had two games behind closed doors before playing at the weekend and I felt the time was right for him to come on and make a contribution. But given our schedule, weâ€™ve had no chance to put a game on for Michael, to let him taste an 11 versus 11 match again.â€
â€œLike Damien, Michael has worked so hard to get himself back in the squad. From here on itâ€™s about getting him back in contention as soon as possible, maintaining his core strength and ensuring heâ€™s available to us on a regular basis.â€
It remains to be seen whether Owen is included at the JJB Stadium this afternoon, although a place amongst the Newcastle substitutes is probably the best he can hope for. Given all he has encountered in recent times, such a role would still represent significant progress for Michael.
â€œItâ€™s a challenge, it always is, but it isnâ€™t as though Michael is still suffering the injuries that he has had in the past â€“ major ones, long-term ones,â€
â€œThe recent injuries have been small niggles and Michael has been as disappointed as us all. Preventing injuries is something Iâ€™m big on.â€
â€œBut it doesnâ€™t happen overnight, itâ€™s a process that can be slow, Iâ€™ve always said that. Itâ€™s always a concern to have players getting injured on a regular basis. Itâ€™s up to us to avoid that situation and I feel weâ€™re making progress.â€
The very best we can hope for from Michael today is a place on the bench and then brought on for the last 15 minutes or so. And then Michael scores a goal for us – that’s the very best scenario, and we hope it happens.
But most of all we are hoping and praying that we can get back on the winning track with all 3 points. Wigan is a team we should be able to beat, and that’s the truth.
Comments always welcome.