Newcastle captain Michael Owen is gearing himself up for a 'cup final' as he prepares to return to action.
The 29-year-old England striker is in line to make his comeback from an ankle ligament injury, which has sidelined him since the end of January, when the Magpies face a must-win Barclays Premier League match against Hull next weekend.
Owen told www.nufc.co.uk: "The game at Hull City on Saturday week is at the moment shaping up to be our cup final, and the other games against teams around us - Stoke City, Portsmouth and Middlesbrough - could also be crucial."
He added: "There's no denying that we are in the middle of the relegation scrap, but I and the lads have no doubt in our minds that we have enough quality to pull clear.
"However, this is the time when we have to stand up and be counted - just like we did last year, when we put together a very good seven-match unbeaten run.
"That sort of sequence is well within our capabilities - and while we have some tough home fixtures in a row, which started against Manchester United and continues with Arsenal and Chelsea, it is the other games against teams around us that are going to be most significant."
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