Belfast Telegraph

Kinnear bullish on Owen

Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear hopes to have news on Michael Owen’s contract before Christmas.

The 61-year-old revealed after his side’s last-gasp Barclays Premier League victory over Tottenham that Owen’s representatives are expected to hold talks with managing director Derek Llambias over the next "three or four days".

Kinnear’s claim came amid reports the 29-year-old is ready to run his current deal down to the end of the season before making a decision on where he will play his football.

Asked if he had been told that, Kinnear said: "No, that hasn’t been indicated to me. I am confident if we can agree on terms, it boils down to terms, nothing else.

"The length of contract is perfect, he is happy with that, it just boils down to terms.

"We have to sit down with Michael and the people who represent him and try to strike a deal.

"I don’t think there is anything else we can do, we have both really got to agree on a number. As far as I have been informed, that’s supposed to be in the next three or four days."

Newcastle’s chances of hanging on to their captain were done little harm by a vital win over Tottenham - their sixth in succession in the league over the Londoners </>\[Peter Hutcheon\]- as they finally put their troubles at St James’ Park behind them.

Dramatic finishes have become the norm on Tyneside this season, although this time the late fireworks were to the benefit of the home side.

Having seen former Magpies Titus Bramble and Abdoulaye Faye snatch points for Wigan and Stoke respectively at the death in their previous two home games, Kinnear’s men turned the table to grab a vital win.

They had taken an 11th-minute lead when Charles N’Zogbia ran on to Shay Given’s towering clearance and after holding off covering full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, shot past goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to give his side the perfect start.

However, Tottenham’s response was concerted, and they were back on level terms within 17 minutes when Luka Modric, a target for former Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan, collected Michael Dawson’s ball over the top to beat Shay Given with the home defence appealing in vain for an offside flag.

From that point on, Spurs looked the more likely winners, but after substitute Fraizer Campbell had just failed to connect with a cross in front of goal, Damien Duff snatched the precious maximum points.

The Republic of Ireland international, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, combined with Mark Viduka before firing past Gomes in the 90th minute to give his team a massive boost.

Victory lifted the Magpies to the relative safety of 12th place to leave Kinnear a happy man.

He said: "I am delighted because we have suffered the opposite in the last two home games.

"We were two up against Stoke, they scored in the 90th minute and it was a kick in the teeth that day; and of course, we had Wigan as well and they scored in the 90th minute and got a draw.

"We felt those two games, we let slip, so it’s nice for one to go our way."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was hugely disappointed with a result which left his side too close to the relegation zone for comfort.

He said: "We didn’t deserve to lose today, that’s for sure.

"We have had a fantastic run and we are still down there, the same as Newcastle, the same as everybody from Hull down.

"Everybody can get sucked in, can’t they, everybody?"

Meanwhile, Kinnear dismissed claims he had applied for the vacant job at derby rivals Sunderland, or that a third party had put his name forward.

He said: "It’s the saga thing living up here, it’s never-ending, isn’t it?

"You’re a mischievous lot, aren’t you? You are not happy unless you are giving me a kick in the cobblers, are you?\[Prestige\]Story 'Newcastle match' fetched from queue '\BELFAST\WIRE\Sport\Soccer News' on 21/12/2008 19:02:38

Belfast Telegraph


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