Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear has revealed he is ready to throw Obafemi Martins into the deep end after Michael Owen's groin injury.
The out-of-favour England striker is out for seven to 10 days and will miss the match with Manchester City on Monday and possibly the Tyne-Wear derby with Sunderland.
Now with Martins returning to fitness from a knee injury sustained against Tottenham in the Carling Cup, Kinnear is looking to the Nigerian for cover and said: "Oba's an option, and we've stepped up his training."
He added: "We were planning to keep him back but because this has happened he is in the first team squad, he did well on Wednesday and exceptionally well on Thursday as well.
"He hasn't needed any other further treatment on his knee so that's a good sign. He is in my mind to be involved in the match against Man City."
Other options for Kinnear in attack are Spanish striker Xisco, who scored for his country's under-21 side this week, while Shola Ameobi is also in the frame.
Speaking on the general mood in the camp Kinnear said: "Everything has been good since Everton (a 2-2 draw) we feel that we are on the up.
"People have been bright and bubbly even though we have had eight people away with their countries.
"We have been a bit thin on the ground. Nevertheless it has been enjoyable and people have been working extremely hard.
"We're hoping that all of the hard work we have put in, we will get a few players back for the Man City game. That's what we have been working hard on."
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