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Newcastle won't gamble with Owen's groin

England striker Michael Owen's groin problem will be closely monitored by Newcastle as he attempts to avoid another bout of surgery.

The 27-year-old striker has been included in the squad for Sunday's Premier League clash with West Ham at St James' Park six days after limping off with a tight groin during the 1-0 defeat at Derby.

However, Magpies boss Sam Allardyce admits it is a situation which will have to be carefully managed to ensure Owen does not succumb once again.

He said: "When anybody gets anything where there is a slight tightening, then it's the beginning of a warning sign to say you need to make sure you find out what the problem is and then sort the problem out.

"You would manage that area more cautiously than anything else, and then take a view on a week-by-week basis and see how things are.

"Hopefully, going into Sunday's game, he is okay. He has recovered from Monday night's match because we brought him off sooner rather than later, and we go from there.

"Hopefully he gets through Sunday's game with no more discomfort, and if he does, we have to manage that from there on and see how we go."

A scan on Tuesday showed no lasting damage, but it came as a relief when Owen was able to train today with no problems, although his manager is taking nothing for granted in the longer term.

He said: "We will be guided by the scan and that is not showing that Michael needs an operation. He trained today and he is fit for selection on Sunday.

"But that is not to say that persistent groin trouble will not turn into a hernia, and if he does need an operation, we will decide about it then."

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