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Leeds vs. Norwich: All the 2s

The Toe Poke

Ox eyeing PL starts after EFL Cup brace

By ESPN Staff

Smith ready to play where Allardyce demands

Newcastle new boy Alan Smith has vowed to do whatever it takes to help turn around the fortunes of his new club and lead the Magpies back into major European competition.

And the former Leeds player is unconcerned about the role earmarked for him by boss Sam Allardyce after he completed his move from Manchester United for a fee in the region of £6million.

Smith, who has enjoyed equal success both up front and in midfield in his career to date, said: 'I don't think any player can turn round and say `I am only going to play in one position' because that would be silly.

'He will probably want me to play all over. Otherwise it limits the amount of times he can use you.

'So I am ready to fit in and I just can't wait to get out there and play.'

Smith, who quickly made up his mind about a switch to the north east following positive talks with Allardyce this week, admitted Europe had to be the very minimum of his new club's aims.

He added: 'We want success but everybody knows it is not going to come overnight.

'Hopefully the transitional period will not take too long. The fans want success and everybody knows how passionate they are.'

Allardyce believes Smith could put his relatively disappointing Old Trafford career behind him and bounce back better than ever after recovering from the broken leg he sustained in 2006.

Allardyce said: 'I think he will be a major signing for Newcastle and with his recent career-threatening injury, I think it was a life-changing experience and will make him more determined than ever.

'He is a lot more mature and he has been with the best manager in club football today seeing how you win a Championship. Not only do I expect his performances to rub off on the players but also his experiences.'

Allardyce is beginning to see his catalogue of injury problems ease following the returns to training of David Rozehnal, Nicky Butt and Steven Taylor.

Shola Amoebi and Stephen Carr are also in the reckoning for the friendly against Sampdoria on Sunday but Michael Owen is the biggest miss and looks certain to miss the start of the season with a torn thigh muscle.

Owen, whose career on Tyneside has been beset by injuries, has failed to respond to treatment on an injury that has wrecked his pre-season programme.

Allardyce told the Daily Mail: 'It doesn't look as encouraging as we first thought.

'The tear in the muscle hasn't healed as quickly as we would like, so there's no point in making any rash decisions just to get him fit for the start of the season.

'It's about getting him 100% for playing matches on a regular basis. That's why it has been more disappointing for him that he's missed pre-season games more than training.

'He's done enough training to last him a lifetime.'