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Owen is told to wait for new deal

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Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce says striker Michael Owen will need to prove his long-term fitness before he is offered a new contract by the club.


Owen has played just a handful of games since joining the Magpies from Real Madrid in 2005 because of injury.


The 27-year-old has less than two years left on his current deal, but Allardyce is in no hurry to tie him down.


"I'd like to see him play for the next 20 games on the trot or more and then enter into a new contract," he said.


"The most important thing is that he's available for selection every week and we can control it."


"Whether that means we lose him at the end of the day or not is non-negotiable because if it happens it happens but we want to see him fit, playing and scoring on a regular basis.


"When Michael is fit and scoring every week all managers would want him in their side," said Allardyce, whose comments were reported in several newspapers.


Owen has been sidelined with knee, foot and groin injuries since agreeing a £17m move to Newcastle in August 2005.


He is a number of games short yet and still trying to catch up on match practice


Allardyce on Barton


The former Liverpool frontman has been linked with a move away from Tyneside, with Manchester City a possible destination.


But Newcastle do not have to sell and have revealed Owen no longer has a get-out clause in his contract.


"There was a clause in Michael's contract which allowed him to leave for a certain fee during the last transfer window and the summer before that as well, but that sort of clause does not exist any longer," said Magpies chairman Chris Mort.


Meanwhile, Joey Barton may have to wait a little longer for his first start for Newcastle.


The 25-year-old midfielder, a £5.8m summer signing from Manchester City, has yet to play a competitive game for the club after fracturing a metatarsal at Carlisle in pre-season.


He had hoped to force his way into contention for Monday Premier League visit of Spurs, but Allardyce says he will be no more than a substitute.


"Joey has got a slight chance of being in the squad at the very best," said the Magpies boss.


"He is a number of games short yet and still trying to catch up on match practice, but he is working very, very hard"

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