Owen hopes 'to play again this season' as knee heals

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The Independent Football

Michael Owen, the England international forward, is confident he will return to Premiership action this season after receiving positive feedback relating to the latest round of scans on his injured knee.

The Newcastle United player has not kicked a ball since damaging ligaments in a World Cup group game against Sweden in Germany last summer, and was not expected to reach full fitness this season. However, Owen, who arrived at St James' from Real Madrid in August 2005, last night said he hoped to return in April.

The former Liverpool player's knee was scanned last week and the films forwarded to the Colorado knee specialist Dr Richard Steadman for assessment. A glowing endorsement of Owen's recovery followed, prompting the striker to say last night: "I'm hoping to play again this season.

"That's the big target. When I ask the specialists if I'll play again before May they are not saying 'no'. The surgeon says that unless anything goes wrong then I should be in a position to go through normal rehabilitation now.

"I do not need to go back to America but I may meet up with Mr Steadman when he travels to Europe in the near future. I'm hoping to be back in April, but if it's any later than that then I will call it a day for this season. There's no point taking any risks for the sake of an odd game in May."