Newcastle's Allardyce won't risk Owen contract until fitness assured

Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce admits he wants Michael Owen to prove his fitness before opening talks over a new contract extension.

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Owen's current deal expires in 2009 and Allardyce told The Journal: "I'd like to see him fit for the next 20 games on the trot or more and then enter into (talks about) a new contract. That's the most important thing, that he's available for selection every week and we can control it.

"Whether that means we lose him at the end of the day or not is non-negotiable because if it happens, it happens, but we want to see him fit, playing and scoring on a regular basis. It's clear before I got here in the summer that the clause of £9m was made public, but it never happened and now it's about keeping Michael fit for what's going to be a really tough December for us.

"(If) Michael (is) fit and scoring goals every week, all managers would want him in their side. If they can come up with the money, a player like Michael Owen commands you'd move for him, if he's available."

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