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By ESPN Staff

Newcastle boss does not expect Owen sale

Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce fully expects to have England striker Michael Owen at his disposal after the January transfer window closes, despite media speculation to the contrary.

The 53-year-old insisted he has had no conversation with Sven-Goran Eriksson about the player, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Friday, amid continued speculation that the Manchester City boss could table an £8million bid.

However, it is understood that discreet inquiries have been made as to City's intentions with Allardyce knowing Owen's departure would leave him with a gap to fill.

But as he conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Fulham, he was adamant any transfer activity this winter would involve incoming players.

Allardyce said: 'It is December, it is speculation time. It is volatile in terms of what is being bandied about throughout the whole of the media world in football.

'The speculation goes with agents or anybody ringing you up for whatever reason and mentioning or talking about one particular player, and straight away, you are either going to buy him or another rumour comes around and all of a sudden, you are selling.

'Certainly at this moment in time, my squad coming to January is going to be depleted by four players going to the African Nations Cup, and there is no room for me moving any players out of this football club.

'It is about, if anything, bringing some players in to bolster the squad, not just for the players who are missing for the African Nations, but hopefully, if it is there, to get us better to see us through this season.'

Asked if he had spoken to Eriksson, he replied: 'We have not had a conversation regarding Michael Owen.'

Owen is not in the squad for Saturday's game as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury, but coould return against Derby next Sunday.

He has managed just 25 appearances for Newcastle since making a £17million move from Real Madrid in August 2005.

Owen has a further 18 months to run on his contract, and will be able to leave St James' Park on a free transfer at the end of next season.