Mort slams 'tedious' speculation over future of Allardyce

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Amid another rash of speculation on Tyneside, and beyond, regarding Sam Allardyce's future at Newcastle United, the club's chairman Chris Mort has described the conjecture as "tedious. All this makes me laugh. There is a different name every week and there is just no truth in it".

Publicly it is as strong as Mort has been yet on the subject and he, Allardyce and owner Mike Ashley will hope that it goes some way to quelling the ongoing debate. A victory over Manchester City tomorrow night at St James' Park would also be a considerable help in that.

With Alan Shearer's name again prominent, Allardyce was asked yesterday if the shadow of Shearer was a frustration.

"It has always been there and always will be," Allardyce said. "There is nothing more to say."

As with Mort, Allardyce emphasised continuity and the normality of his relationship with Ashley. "Mike is away on holiday," Allardyce said. "I talk to the chairman on a regular basis. I talk to Mike Ashley, once or twice [a week], or sometimes there is no need to. He is kept informed on a regular basis by the chairman but we have a regular conversation and regular communication.

"I do not have any problems or worries as far as they are concerned. The pressure has been put on them as well as me, they understand it is outside influences trying to exert pressure on them. It is all part of the game."

Michael Owen may return to the starting XI tomorrow having come on as a substitute against Chelsea on Saturday and Allardyce could do with a big performance from the 17m striker, who has been linked to City. The Chelsea display was an improvement but this is Newcastle's first home game since the previous loss at Wigan, where Newcastle fans sang: "We're shit and we're sick of it."