Sam Allardyce is banking on Michael Owen to help him overcome the fear factor as he prepares for his first home game as Newcastle boss.

Owen's return to the squad after a thigh injury could hardly have come at a better time for Allardyce, who has many striking options for the clash with Aston Villa.

And despite a storming start to the season at his old club Bolton, Allardyce admits the fear of dismissal has already been giving him plenty of sleepless nights.

Allardyce said: "I hope the welcome is bigger at the end of the game than the beginning. The Premier League is a cruel place and there is no guarantee things will go your way.

"That is why it is so exciting but also why there is a huge amount of pressure on us. You can turn things around or just as quickly things can start to go a bit sour.

"We all live in fear of the sack. That is what drives us on more than anything else. We all want to bring success to our clubs but we all want to avoid the sack."