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By ESPN Staff

'I feel fine', insists Newcastle striker Owen

Newcastle striker Michael Owen insists he is ready to return to Premier League action this weekend after coming through an hour-long workout on Monday night.

The 27-year-old missed most of pre-season and last Saturday's opening-day win at Bolton with a thigh injury sustained during shooting practice.

But after tonight's reserve match against Newcastle Blue Star at Kingston Park, in which he had two chances cleared off the line, he told Newcastle United website: 'I feel fine, it was only a small injury, a niggle.

'It had me out for a couple of weeks but I've trained for the last four or five days and I was confident I'd be fine and it was good to get back out on the pitch.

'It's a little frustrating to have missed some of the pre-season games but I've been able to do all the running work.'

Owen's optimism means he could now face Aston Villa at St James' Park on Saturday, and will come as music to the ears of England coach Steve McClaren after he lost Manchester United frontman Wayne Rooney for the forthcoming internationals with a foot injury.

Shola Ameobi scored both goals to help the United second string to a 2-0 win in a match that also saw a first appearance in Newcastle colours for Brazilian defender Claudio Cacapa.

Midfielder Kieron Dyer, who recently saw a transfer to West Ham collapse at the 11th hour, also played.