Allardyce careful with Owen's Newcastle return

Sam Allardyce admits he will have to tread carefully where Michael Owen is concerned, after conceding he is rated at only 50-50 to return at the weekend.

The injury-plagued striker has not featured for Newcastle since suffering a thigh problem last month when away on international duty.

Allardyce had pencilled in Owen's return for Sunday's clash with Derby but he is now unsure over whether the 28-year-old will be declared fit to figure.

"Hopefully Michael is going to get back into some form of training this week, and Derby might still be a bit soon, but we'll keep our fingers crossed," Allardyce told the Newcastle Chronicle.

"Certainly, we would hope to have Steven Taylor and possibly Abdoulaye Faye and Stephen Carr back.

"We'll try to get them into training as quickly as we can, because the games are coming thick and fast."