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Scottish Mag

Roeder facing striker crisis

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Glenn Roeder could face a decision between rushing into the transfer market or starting Newcastle United's Intertoto Cup campaign short on strikers for the second year running.


Shola Ameobi is facing a race to be fit for the third round, first leg tie at St James's Park on July 15 and without him Roeder would have only Albert Luque and James Milner, who have both played much of their football out wide in recent seasons, available at centre-forward.


Similar problems last year left Newcastle without a recognised striker on the bench for their opening game in the competition.


Ameobi was unable to train this week, a legacy of the hip problem which dogged his previous two campaigns, and Roeder is loathe to rush players back too early.


That will be sorely tested with Michael Owen due to fly out on Monday for a consultation with Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado over his ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments and the Gosforth-born pair of Alan Shearer and Michael Chopra - who has joined Cardiff City - also out of the equation.


Roeder, however, is determined to handle Ameobi's return properly. "After seven weeks off you can't just put someone through a game of football at this level," he said. "There's a minimum amount of time a player needs and any manager who plays someone who is injured needs their head examined.


"As far as July 15 goes, I'd have to say Shola's touch-and-go. If he doesn't return (to training) next week it would be asking a lot for him to play."


The 24-year-old avoided the need for another operation on his hip by having an injection. Shola only had an injection two weeks ago," explained Roeder. "What he's feeling is a little bit of needle soreness because of the probing around they did."


With so little time until United host Lillestr?m or Keflavik, bringing in a suitable striker could be difficult. Many of the forwards Roeder will have been considering are at or recently returned from the World Cup which, in Roeder's mind, rules them out for July 15.


The Londoner believes World Cup players should get a family holiday after the tournament. And United are the first Premiership team back in training.


By the time he returns from Colorado in a fortnight, Owen expects to be much clearer about the timetable for his recovery.


"As soon as we get the operation out of the way we will be looking forward to a fixed date or a fixed time to come back," he told the club's website. "I'll go out there on Monday, be examined on Tuesday, and have the operation as soon as possible."


Roeder's more immediate concern is his side's opponents in this season's competition. He will be in Norway today to watch Lillestr?m play Icelandic side Keflavik in the first leg of their second round tie. The hosts are favourites but, although their coaching staff will be well known to United, the players will not.


Lillestrom are managed by former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler, who retired from playing in 2003 to successfully fight cancer. His fellow coaches are Gunnar Halle and ex-Middlesbrough striker Jan Age Fjortoft.

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This close season AND the previous close season we've been told that Shola was going to have an operation on his hip in the summer. Both times a decision has then been made to just give him injections in the expectation that things would improve. They didn't last year and they haven't this year.


Sorry like, but believing this would work once and going ahead with the injections is one thing, but do fucking well do it AGAIN the following season and once again find the injury doesn't clear up is rank incompetence.

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