Chris Hughton is confident Michael Owen can handle the weight of expectation as he looks for senior players to drag Newcastle out of relegation trouble. After missing five games through injury, England striker Owen made a welcome return for the Magpies in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Hull. Owen, 29, had a quiet game at the KC Stadium and was withdrawn after 72 minutes, but caretaker manager Hughton is well aware of how much a fully fit Owen could improve his side's survival chances. Hughton, who continues to stand in for the absent Joe Kinnear, said: "I think when you look at your big players anywhere there are always expectations.
"I think Michael accepts that - he is a big player. It comes with the territory. "This is the moment you look at your big players and your big players around the changing room. "This is when you want players available. "But you have got to be confident you have got good enough characters and enough quality to come through that, and I'm very confident that we have." * With agencies