Shearer's fitness had been doubtful since he damaged an ankle during the club's pre-season tour of the Netherlands, but after playing since he signed a long-term contract, he said he would ready for the new campaign. "I'm fit," he said. "It's not a problem. I've been fit since last week. There's no doubt about it and there never has been as far as I'm concerned. The ankle is fine and has been for a week, so I'm raring to go."
However, the immediate future of Shearer's strike partner, Duncan Ferguson, is not so promising. The former Rangers and Everton forward has been pencilled in for a game in Germany against Bochum on Saturday in what will be his last chance to prove his fitness before the big kick-off. Ferguson's involvement has been minimal since he underwent surgery on a groin injury at the turn of the year.
But his performance as a substitute in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur showed what an asset he can be.
"Duncan is training and he's going well," said manager Ruud Gullit. "Hopefully we can get him a game on Saturday. He's working very hard and doing fine. The good thing about Duncan is he's a character player. He plays with his heart."Reuse content