Shearer: Returning strikers will fix misfiring Toon

February 27, 2008

Alan Shearer believes Kevin Keegan's reign at Newcastle will get up and running this weekend now he has all of his strikers fit and available.

Keegan has recorded two draws and four defeats since returning to St James' Park for his second spell as boss but has not had a full compliment of forwards.

With Obafemi Martins (ankle) and Mark Viduka (calf/hamstring) returning to full fitness, Shearer feels their comebacks will also help create more chances for Michael Owen to add to his four Premier League goals this season.

Keegan will have to choose which strikers will play against Blackburn on Saturday.

'For the first time this weekend he could have a full squad to pick from with his centre-forwards - Owen, Viduka, Martins, (Alan) Smith, (Shola) Ameobi and the young lad coming through Andy Carroll,' said Shearer, Newcastle's record goalscorer.

'The strikers they have would trouble any defence. Mark Viduka has been a miss being injured and hopefully he will be back for Saturday and give them an extra dimension.'

Despite scoring two in his last three appearances, Owen has struggled this season and has also lost his place in the England team.

'Michael needs chances,' Shearer added. 'He needs players and everyone around to create them. At the moment they are not scoring goals and not creating chances which is disappointing but if they get everyone fit you'll see them creating and Michael scoring.

'I speak to him now and again but he doesn't need anyone to tell him what to do. He's been in this position before and he'll be in it again after he's been on a goalscoring run. That is the life of a centre-forward.'

Newcastle have not won in the league this year but Shearer feels their strikers can keep them out of a relegation dogfight.

'I wouldn't be worried about Newcastle going down, they've got too much quality for that,' he said.

'They are struggling for points at the moment but I think between now and the end of the season they will have enough to get themselves out of it.

'If everyone sticks together, and there is no reason why they won't, then they will be okay.'

Shearer was speaking at the launch of Umbro's 'Have Your Say' initiative, with fans around the globe will be invited to take part in the year-long survey where they can air their views.

Newcastle have faced plenty of criticism recently and Shearer added: 'It's understandable because of their league position and they haven't won for so many games.

'Players are just short on confidence - and confidence in football is such a huge thing.

'They need a win from somewhere and when they get that win you'll see a different team, I'm sure of it. Hopefully that win will come on Saturday against Blackburn. You won't recognise them after a win.'