Geordies Given Owen Fitness Boost Ahead Of Season Defining Game

Craig WoodheadContributor IMay 19, 2009

NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 27:  Newcastle player Michael Owen looks on dejectedly after a miss during the Premier League  match between Newcastle United and Portsmouth at St James' Park on April 27, 2009 in Newcastle, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

After missing the home clash against Fulham last Saturday with a groin strain, Newcastle were handed a major boost of confidence; as Michael Owen is set to return to the squad ahead of Sunday’s must win game away to Aston Villa.

Newcastle interim manager Alan Shearer told the clubs official website "He had a scan on Monday and there is no serious injury so we're hopeful he'll be involved on Sunday,"

The 29 year old England centre forward has certainly lacked goals this season, after only scoring eight goals in 27 league appearances this season. But, with the desperate situation that Newcastle are in this weekend; needing at the very least a draw versus Aston Villa to ensure premier league survival, this could provide the confidence boost the players need having their captain back.

After reports last week linking Owen with a retirement and rather than playing football anymore, focusing on horse racing which were described as "ludicrous" by Shearer, who also said, "I am 100 percent certain he will have a future in the Premier League."

It is widely considered that Owen will be on the bench for Sundays game, with Shearer electing to play the more explosive Obafemi Martins and more technical Mark Viduka up front. Even though he won’t be on from the start, Owen will still be looking to have some form of impact coming off the bench.

The Toon Army have become increasingly impatient over recent years with the £16 million signing and have said he has not been worth that sort of money; even though Owen has averaged just under a goal every two games in a Black and White Shirt.

There is no secret that the striker life at St.James’ Park has been a torrid one, with countless injuries, a major decline in form from his Liverpool and Real Madrid days and also being dropped from the England squad by manager Fabio Capello.

With his contract expiring this summer, this could well be Michael Owen's farewell performance as a Newcastle United player, with Celtic rumoured to be the team leading the chase to catch him.