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Newcastle boss Allardyce sweating on Owen fitness

He said: "Every manager will be concerned about every player who is going to play for England on that surface - if they have got any previous injury history - because it can work muscles and find out different areas of the body or weaknesses that grass doesn't do.

"That's the only concern I have regarding that surface."

Allardyce has liaised closely with Owen and the England camp throughout the last few weeks, with Magpies coach Steve Round among Steve McClaren's international staff.

The manager said: "I have been in touch with Steve and Steve, and Michael.

"He got through the game okay on Saturday; they won the game comfortably, and I hope they do the same tomorrow afternoon."

Asked for his views on the surface, Allardyce said: "I can see it as a disadvantage as a one-off, I do not see it as a disadvantage in using it to develop young players and to develop their skills.

"Competitive football is, for me, still a no-no. I am an experienced man on plastic surfaces, because I played on Preston's for three years.

"They have obviously improved a tremendous amount since those days - it is like walking on a carpet, that one out there.

"It should not cause too many concerns for injuries, like the stuff we used to play on, because a lot of science has gone into it.

"But in terms of competitive football, I still don't think it is ever going to take over from grass."

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Tribal Football Staff

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