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Allardyce admits Newcastle depth now tested

Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce fears his squad's depth will be put to the test after their defeat by Derby last night.

Although Allardyce was frustrated by the result, he is already crossing his fingers that injuries do not further hinder his team's progress with England striker Michael Owen coming off as a precaution with a minor groin niggle.

The Magpies face West Ham on Sunday, followed by a Carling Cup visit to Arsenal on Tuesday and Manchester City away a week on Saturday.

Allardyce said: "He (Owen) felt his groin at half-time. I gave him the opportunity to go back on because he wanted to but I didn't want to risk him for longer than five or 10 minutes and we took him off as a precaution."

Asked if he would available at the weekend, Allardyce said: "Yes. We need him to be fit because we have too many injured as it is.

"We've got to get our whole squad together. We need the Mark Vidukas, the Joey Bartons, the Damien Duffs, the Jose Enriques, even the Celestine Babayaros.

"But we have a six-day, three-game week coming up. We've been dealt a blow by the Premier League because of the Carling Cup match.

"We've been told we have to play on Tuesday night after playing West Ham on Sunday so it's my turn to moan now rather than the big boys.

"We have a very difficult week ahead of us and I just hope we have enough men to cope."

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Tribal Football Staff

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