Newcastle boss delays Viduka derby decision

The 32-year-old has missed the club's last four games but he is fit and in the squad for the Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light, and Allardyce could hardly be more pleased.

He said: "It's always key to have your big players fit, and Mark Viduka's past record in the game stands up for itself.

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"As a Premier League striker, he has got a very, very good track record in terms of how he contributes outside the box, in terms of linking and starting off attacks and how he contributes in providing opportunities for other players to score goals.

"But the biggest contribution of all is how many goals he scores himself for a centre-forward, a big, big centre-forward."

Allardyce added: "These days, there are big centre-forwards about, but they don't have the sort of goal ratio that Mark Viduka has.

"He is a big, big player for us to have available again and hopefully available for a long period of time now because it has been a little too spasmodic in terms of the niggly injuries he has picked up.

"He has been very frustrated by that and has put in a huge amount of work over the last three or four weeks to make sure when he comes back, hopefully it is with a bang and not a repeat of any of the niggly injuries he has had before.

"But I have got to decide whether it is the right thing to start him or not on Saturday. That's my decision and something I and the staff need to talk about.

"In a local derby, as frantic as it is and him not playing for the last four weeks, is it the right thing to start him, or maybe bring him off the bench?

"That I have yet to decide, but we will do that in the next day or so."