Football UEFA Cup: Robson waits on Ferguson and Dyer

NEWCASTLE UNITED
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The Independent Online
BOBBY ROBSON, the Newcastle manager, will leave it until the last possible moment tonight to name his team to face Roma in their Uefa Cup third round, second leg match as he is waiting on the fitness of Duncan Ferguson and Kieron Dyer.

Ferguson, who came off the bench at Aston Villa on Saturday to clinch his side's first Premiership away win of the season, is still having problems with the calf injury which has been hampering him for several weeks. Dyer has not played since undergoing surgery, also on his calf, in October, but his recovery has been such that he almost returned to the squad for the trip to Villa.

However, both men are short of match fitness and while it seems likely that they will play some part in the game, which Newcastle need to win after losing 1-0 in Roma, their involvement could be limited.

"Duncan hasn't trained since he got the winner on Saturday and he's still having a slight problem with his calf," Robson said. "We're having to nurse it, but the problem is that while we do that he doesn't train, and so his fitness level isn't being enhanced. It's a slight problem for us, but if he can give us an hour at the beginning or a good half an hour at the end, that might be all we can get from him."

The manager admitted his side will have to play an adventurous game to get through the tie. "We're not winning, we're not drawing, we're losing, so we have to play to some fairly adventurous football," said Robson. "If we play placid football it won't damage our opponents and we have to hurt them. We have to be adventurous and not be afraid, and if we go out [of the competition] playing that way, well so be it. But we know we have to win this match."

Robson will be without his Portuguese defender Helder, who is ineligible, and the Spaniard Marcelino, who is still injured. Steve Howey, who is also ineligible, received a setback when he damaged a hamstring on Tuesday, as did the striker Paul Robinson, who has been withdrawn from the squad.

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