Big Sam pledge: Owen will face Hammers
Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has eased any worries over England striker Michael Owen's fitness, insisting he could play on Sunday against West Ham. Owen, whose career at St James' Park has been punctuated by a series of injuries, has only just returned to the side after missing much of the club's pre-season programme with knee trouble. He was fit enough to score three times for England in their Euro 2008 double-header against Israel and Russia but lasted less than an hour of the Magpies' defeat to Derby on Monday night, with Allardyce substituting him with minor concerns over a tightening groin. But after sending the 27-year-old for a scan, the former Bolton manager is happy to consider him for the weekend clash with the Hammers. Allardyce told The Sun: 'We sent him for a scan as a precaution. 'But the result is he's absolutely fine and will be fit to play on Sunday.'