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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 6 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 12, 2009

No punishment for Martins

Newcastle manager Alan Shearer will not take disciplinary action against Obafemi Martins, despite doubts over the injury which forced his late withdrawal from the squad to face Stoke. Striker Martins was a surprise omission from the 18 on duty ahead of the 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium, with Shearer later revealing the Nigerian had pulled out at 11am with a groin injury.

"He rang up and said he had a sore groin and unable to play,'' said Shearer.

"We got the doctors and physios to go and have a look at him, and he couldn't play.

"But there was no evidence earlier in the week he had the injury.

"After working on a particular system over the previous few days, then it was obviously disappointing to find out so late in the day he couldn't make it, so we had to reshuffle the pack a little.''

The suggestion after the game was Martins had overslept, breaking a regimented routine implemented by Shearer, so fabricating the groin injury as a cover-up.

Dismissing the threat of disciplinary action, Shearer added: "No, he didn't sleep in at all. That's not true.

"We met just after 11 o'clock, so he never broke any curfews or anything like that.

"I personally spoke to him and I'll speak to him again tomorrow morning, and we'll have another look at him.''

Asked whether he believed Martins' story, Shearer said: "You have to,'' only to then underline his displeasure at the situation.

"I wasn't happy I got the call at 11 o'clock, particularly after we had trained all Thursday and Friday, had massages Friday evening, and there was no sign of it.

"But it's happened and we're hopeful it's not going to be too serious because he has a big part to play.''

It required an 81st-minute header from substitute Andy Carroll to give Shearer his first point as Magpies manager after Stoke captain and former United old boy Abdoulaye Faye had opened the scoring.

Shearer certainly felt Martins' absence was a significant loss as he pointedly remarked: "Possibly we could have won the game if he had been fit.''

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