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V-Bomber Looking for Toon Stay

MARK VIDUKA could remain with English Premier League club Newcastle beyond this season, according to his manager, Alan Shearer.

Shearer has revealed Viduka looked likely to return to Australia at the end of an injury-riddled season, where he could have opted to play in the A-League.

But with the former Socceroos captain set to be involved for the first time in seven weeks when Newcastle travel to Tottenham on Sunday, the interim manager has refused to rule out extending Viduka’s contract another year.

The 33-year-old’s days at St James’ Park appeared numbered after making just one start and five substitute appearances this season due to groin and Achilles injuries.

He will fall well short of playing the games required to trigger an automatic one-year extension but Shearer offered a glimmer of hope that he could prolong his stay.

“That [a contract extension] is something we’d have to look at come the end of the season,” said Shearer, who is expected to be confirmed in the role long-term at the end of the season. “I’ve said to Mark, ‘Look, we want you fit for the remaining games then we’ll see what happens after that’.

“It’s fair to say Mark probably wouldn’t have played again this season if things hadn’t changed but just having him available to play some part is great.

“He was injured and not in a good condition and probably on his way to Australia this summer because talks hadn’t happened between himself and the club.

“But it would have been a complete waste to just let him lie on the treatment table looking forward to going back to the beaches in Australia. That’s what his plans were this summer.”

Provided 18th-placed Newcastle avoid relegation, staying on would be a boost for Viduka’s hopes of figuring in the Socceroos’ 2010 World Cup campaign, with Australia coach Pim Verbeek saying the striker would need to be playing regularly to go to South Africa.

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Real Football

Published on May 14, 2009

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