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Rookie Martinez the man for Wenger

Arsenal about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 1, 2008

Sam unfazed by Shearer talk

Under-pressure Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has shrugged off speculation he is set to be replaced by Alan Shearer.

Allardyce has come in for increasing flak since taking over at St James' Park in the summer, a poor run of performances prompting some fans to call for his head.

He was given a vote of confidence by chairman Chris Mort, who insisted yesterday laughed off rumours owner Mike Ashley was considering sacking the 52-year-old.

Allardyce said: 'I do not have any worries or concerns as far as they (Mort and Ashley) are concerned.

'The pressure that has been put on them as well as me, they understand it is outside influences trying to exert pressure on them. It is all part of the game.'

Asked if he felt St James' Park hero Shearer was casting a shadow over him, he said: 'It has always been there and it always will be. There is nothing more to say on the subject.'

Allardyce also insisted his transfer window spending has not been capped and revealed he has already begun compiling a shopping list.

'I am putting players forward to the chairman and decisions will be made from there,' he said.

'The players that might be available and are available are being discussed on a regular basis, day to day.

'I was never given an indication of a budget in the summer and it will be similar in this window.'

As for possible January departures from St James' Park, Allardyce added: 'It would have to be a very lucrative offer for anyone to move away from the club.'

On player consistently linked with a move away from Newcastle is £17million striker Michael Owen, who has now recovered from the thigh strain which sidelined him for six weeks.

He could return from what is the latest in a catalogue of injury setbacks during tomorrow's Barclays Premier League home game with Manchester City.

Allardyce has 'not yet decided' whether to start the England striker but is desperate to get him back on the pitch.

He said: 'We have had games where we have created a large number of chances and you have to wonder, if Michael had been there, we might have converted a higher proportion of our chances.

'His injury has been a massive disappointment. But he is now back and we can only hope that with no internationals coming up, and his training and fitness work (being) in-house, we can get him fit and scoring goals again.'