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By ESPN Staff
Jan 24, 2007

Roeder warns Spurs against swoop for Duff

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder has told Premiership rivals Tottenham not to bother if they are preparing an approach for winger Damien Duff.

Roeder, who is currently at Warwick University as he continues his studies towards the UEFA Pro-Licence, read fresh reports over the weekend that Martin Jol could be ready to test his resolve to hang on to the 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international with a £7million bid.

However, the Magpies have no intention of allowing their £5million summer signing to leave St James' Park as he prepares for his return from a knee injury.

Roeder said: 'We have read the reports of Spurs wanting Damien Duff over the weekend, but we have heard nothing from them.

'In any case, they must know they are wasting their time. Why would we sign Damien Duff in the close season and then sell him on before that season is over?

'We are trying to build a good squad here at Newcastle United and Duff is very much part of our plans.'

The former Blackburn and Chelsea midfielder could make his return to action against Aston Villa on January 31 after a frustrating lay-off following surgery to repair a cartilage.

He appeared as a substitute for the 2-1 home victory over Watford on December 16 after six games on the sidelines, but suffered a reaction and has been out for the last nine matches.

Duff has suffered a testing start to his career on Tyneside, where he has played on both flanks as well as at left-back and up front, and Roeder will hope his best form is to come during the second half of the season.

That is something he is certainly expecting from £10million fellow newcomer Obafemi Martins, who produced an excellent second-half display in Saturday's 2-2 league draw with West Ham which very nearly completed a fightback victory.

The 22-year-old Nigerian took his time to settle into the Premiership, but has now started to show the form in which Newcastle invested such faith, and Roeder has a simple explanation for his recent performances.

He said: 'Oba's mother has come across to Newcastle and staying with him and this has given him a lift.

'I don't how long she staying, but if she is the reason why he perked up in the second half against West Ham on Saturday, then I hope it is a long time.

'Don't forget, for the first time in his career Oba now has a regular place in a team and he is not watching from the sidelines or coming off the bench, as he did for most of his time at Inter Milan.

'It is a new experience for him, but he is now looking as though he is starting to feel the benefit of that.

'He has not had a regular partner up front for us since he came to St James' Park and when he does have one, he will find that a big help.

'And as I keep saying, he is still only 22 and can only get better.' As well as continuing with his studies, Roeder is also working desperately in an attempt to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes next week.

His admiration for West Brom defender Curtis Davies is well-known, while Ajax's 20-year-old striker Ryan Babel is another player he rates highly.

However, cash is at a premium on Tyneside with chairman Freddy Shepherd having funded his £15million summer spending spree after handing predecessor Graeme Souness £50million, and the current manager admitted at the weekend that loan signings could be the short-term way forward.