Toon boosted by triple striker return

Newcastle United have been boosted with the news that strikers Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka and Alan Smith could all return for the Magpies's' clash with Everton on Sunday.

Nigerian forward Martins has been out of action since December with a hernia complaint, while both Viduka and Smith have been missing for most of the season.

And with fellow front-man Michael Owen still expected to be sidelined for another three-four weeks, the availability of the striking trio serves as a timely boost for Joe Kinnear's side, who himself is out of action having undergone heart surgery.

Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood have been left in charge of first-team affairs in the manager's absence, with the former confident the return of Martins, Viduka and Smith will boost the morale of the remainder of the squad.

"Oba Martins, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka will all be fit to make an impact in the run-in and that's a good boost for us," he told the club's official website.

"It's very important to have them back in the frame. It's immensely beneficial to us, they could be very important for us in the coming weeks. The group of lads we've got, they'll look around them and see senior, quality and experienced players with them.

"Even if they are not quite up to full fitness, the lift they give the rest of the lads is obvious. Alan Smith has played in two friendlies and will play in the next one, while Oba will have had some training under his belt by the time of the next match."

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