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Owen injured in training, as trio returns

Michael Owen has dealt a fresh blow to relegation-threatened Newcastle with the news that he will definitely miss their clash with a groin injury sustained in training. Interim boss Joe Kinnear has lost the striker just as Habib Beye, Obafemi Martins and Jonas Gutierrez return to his squad but hopes he can return in time with the derby with Sunderland.

"He tweaked his groin in training so he is a big doubt," Kinnear said. "I am hoping it is not as bad as it looked when he first did it."

Kinnear has also confirmed that Gerry Francis will not be coming in at United as coach.

"I was surprised to see it all over the TV. We had a casual chat about things.

"He is already doing two days a week at Stoke.

"Gerry doesn't want to be involved with football on match days."

Kinnear also admitted the current restraints at the club mean he can offer no guarantees when it comes to attracting any other potential coaches.

He added: "It was a difficult one for Gerry because I can't give him a contract in any form or way. I think he has one at Stoke.

"So he doesn't want to burn his bridges.

"If something happens here in the next month and the club is sold, he knows that if the new people come in and don't want you that is the end of it.

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