Owen Set For Last Ten Games In Toon Shirt!

Last updated : 11 March 2009 By Footy Mad - Editor

Duff has been out for three weeks with a calf strain, and vice-captain Butt sat out the 2-1 defeat by Manchester United with a knee injury.

Captain Owen is in line for his first appearance since suffering an ankle injury against Manchester City in January.

Given the likelihood these will be Owen's final ten games as a Newcastle player before he departs on a Bosman-style free transfer at the end of the season, firing the Tyneside club to safety in front of goal would be the ideal parting gift.

Chris Hughton: "Damien and Nicky should be OK for Hull. That is a boost given their experience.

"Add to that Michael Owen and we have three players who will be important for us between now and the end of the season.

"What you want, particularly at a time like now when we know we're going into the last phase of the season, you want as many of your big players around the squad as possible and Michael is certainly one of those.

"As our captain, Michael is arguably the biggest of the lot of them. His presence around the squad is always a plus, but to actually have him available to play really is a boost for us going into the Hull game.

"For numerous teams between now and the end of the season, their ability to score goals will be crucial to where they end up.

"Michael isn't just one of the best strikers in the Premier League, he is one of the best strikers around anywhere. You have to look at his record.

"These have been tough times for Michael regarding injuries, but the one thing that remains consistent is that, when he plays, he scores goals.

"That's testimony to the type of player he is.

"Anyone would rather have Michael Owen in the squad than not in the squad.

"We want him most definitely because of what he brings to the team.

"But what will bring us the edge over our rivals is the team's performance on the day.

"For everything Michael is, he's one of just 11 players, he can't win games on his own.

"We have to perform well. If Michael is going to score goals he needs someone to provide those goals for him.

"If we give him the ammunition, though, he is one of the best at putting them away."