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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 17, 2007

Allardyce positive about imminent Owen

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce is banking on Michael Owen to help him overcome the fear factor as he prepares to take charge at St James's Park for the first time. Owen's return to the squad after a thigh injury could hardly have come at a better time for Allardyce, who has many striking options for the clash with Aston Villa. And despite a storming start to the season at his old club Bolton, Allardyce admits the fear of dismissal has already been giving him plenty of sleepless nights. Allardyce said: 'I hope the welcome is bigger at the end of the game than the beginning. The Premier League is a cruel place and there is no guarantee things will go your way. 'That is why it is so exciting but also why there is a huge amount of pressure on us. You can turn things around or just as quickly things can start to go a bit sour. 'We all live in fear of the sack. That is what drives us on more than anything else. We all want to bring success to our clubs but we all want to avoid the sack.' Despite coming through a training game against Gretna this week, Owen is unlikely to start tomorrow with Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins set to be preferred up front. And Allardyce admitted he is relishing the prospect of having all three of his top strikers fully fit and ready to restore the Newcastle tradition of fine attacking play. Allardyce added: 'Mark's goal tally is unquestioned as is Michael's if he stays fit. Oba's goals were great for his first year and we hope he will get even better. 'You put their goals alongside the likes of Joey Barton, Alan Smith and James Milner, and you have got a lot in your armoury. Hopefully we have got the right blend.' Having coped without six big-name stars for the opening day win at the Reebok Stadium, Allardyce's injury problems are slowly easing with Turkey international Emre back from an ankle injury. And new pair Claudio Cacapa and Jose Enrique are also pushing for their first starts after settling into Premier League life. Allardyce said: 'I think they are two very, very experienced players who are going to have a very big impression on the club this season. 'Cacapa is going to be a major asset in terms of stopping goals which is one of the biggest problems we have been having over the last few years.'