Newcastle boss Keegan happy with Smith form

Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan insists Alan Smith is a crucial part of his first team plans.

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"Alan Smith's working his socks off. It's a hard job playing up front when a team's not getting a lot of good possession," said Keegan. "It's great place to play if you're like (John) Carew on Saturday and you're getting the ball at the right pace and it's got the right weight and in the right areas.

"But our front two have had to fight and battle for scraps and I think the two of them have done well considering.

"Alan hasn't scored goals and if you judge him by that you'd say he hasn't done very well. But if you look at his work-rate, his enthusiasm, I thought first half, he was just about the best player on the park.

"He got us a lot of possession which was probably 50:50 or 60:40 their favour. I like him, I like his character. Every club needs an Alan Smith around - bubbly, lively, bright and who cares."

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