Football

Viduka may return next month

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Mark Viduka could yet play a role in Newcastle's relegation fight as he prepares to return from his latest injury lay-off.

The 33-year-old Australia international has managed just six appearances in total this season and only one start, and with Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins also having endured significant spells on the sidelines, the club's striking options have been severely limited.

But caretaker boss Chris Hughton said: "Mark is still in rehab and he's still one that we are assessing. We are hopeful he will be back in two weeks - that is if he has no setbacks."

Former boss Kevin Keegan threw all three men into the team at the end of the last campaign and was rewarded with a rush of goals which eased the Magpies away from trouble.

However, this time around, the need is even greater following a depressing descent into the bottom three.

Martins scored - after missing a first-half penalty - in Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Arsenal, while Owen was used as a substitute as he fights for match fitness after an ankle problem.

Now Viduka is nearing the stage where he can contemplate a comeback from a troublesome Achilles problem, and caretaker boss Chris Hughton is hoping he can make a big impact.

Hughton added: "Mark's one who, because of the type of player he is, whatever period he's back for, it will be a good thing.

"However quickly we can get him back, it's worth it because of the type of quality that he has.

"But we are also wary that it's a balancing act of being fit and being ready for the rigours of the important games."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Michael Owen
Premier League
Newcastle United
Obafemi Martins
Mark Viduka
Kevin Keegan

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