Newcastle boss Allardyce excited by fully fit Owen

Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce is delighted to have a fully-fit Michael Owen available for preseason training.

He said: "Michael is relishing getting started next season.

"I have listened to what Michael has said about all the long dark days he has experienced, about doing all that rehabilitation work on his own, about wondering how long it was going to take and about having to be patient.

"He has come through that difficult time and he has come through it not just a stronger player, but also a better person.

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"When you have had a career-threatening injury like Michael has, it's a life-changing experience.

"But he has come out the other side and I am hoping both Michael and ourselves will see the benefits from that next season."

The escape clauses in Owen's deal and that of team-mate Obafemi Martins have left Allardyce anxiously awaiting unwanted approaches from potential suitors.

He is understandably keen to retain the services of both men, and with Mark Viduka having joined from Middlesbrough and Shola Ameobi back to full fitness, he would be happy to go into the new campaign with those four men at his disposal.

Allardyce told the club's official website: "I have got the strikers I want here and I'm looking forward to working with them.

"To have Shola and Michael back from their injuries, to have signed Mark Viduka and to have Obafemi Martins in the squad gives me a potent and terrific strike force.

"I just have to keep them fit."

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