Allardyce more optimistic about speedy Owen return

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LONDON, Sep 29 (Reuters) Michael Owen could recover from his groin and abdominal problems far quicker than it was first thought, his Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce said today.

Earlier in the week, Allardyce said that Owen would probably be out at least until the end of October and miss both of England's Euro 2008 qualifiers next month against Estonia and Russia.

Speaking after Newcastle's 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, Allardyce said that Owen could return in time to play against Everton next weekend.

''The second operation on the weaker side of his stomach appears to be very successful,'' said Allardyce.

''It is good news that he is with the best (surgeon) in the world and that is why it's only a few days for his recovery.'' Allardyce added that Own might even be fit in time to play for England.

''With what we've heard from Germany (where he is being treated), it might be a shorter recovery than we thought.

''Who knows? He may even be fit for Everton next week.'' Reuters SSC GC2112

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