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By ESPN Staff

Dowie insists Martins remains a vital player

Newcastle coach Iain Dowie insists Obafemi Martins is an integral part of the team as they battle against relegation from the Premier League.

Martins was a late withdrawal from the Magpies squad that secured a 1-1 draw against Stoke on Saturday and manager Alan Shearer expressed his disappointment the striker had only pulled out at 11am on the morning of the game with a groin injury.

However, Dowie is adamant the Nigeria forward remains a vital part of the squad as they bid to retain their top-flight status.

Dowie told the club's official website: "There hasn't been a falling out with Obafemi Martins and the matter has been dealt with. It's gone and it's in the past and he has said he is fully behind the cause here.

"We never said there wasn't an injury . All Alan expressed was his disappointment was that he had not been told about the injury until 1115 on the Saturday morning, which was too late.

"It was disappointing that's all because we had been working on a system all week and then had to scrap it at the last minute because of the injury to Oba. There is no bad feeling.

"He has gone away for a scan and hopefully the prognosis will be a good one and he will be back involved quickly because he is an important player for us.

"The communication should have been better but to be fair to Oba he was desperate to be involved and maybe that was why he kept quiet about the injury.''

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