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Shearer turns to Owen in relegation dogfight

  • Story Highlights
  • Shearer confident he can help Newcastle avoid the drop from Premier League
  • Names Michael Owen to the starting line-up for first match against
  • Newcastle two points adrift in final relegation spot with eight games to go
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(CNN) -- Alan Shearer says Newcastle face a "massive fight" to avoid relegation from the Premier League and has turned to his former England strike partner Michael Owen to reverse their fading fortunes.

Shearer will take charge for the final eight matches of Newcastle's season.

Alan Shearer is a Newcastle legend after scoring a club record 206 goals for the Magpies.

Shearer's first decision as the new manager at St James' Park was to name injury-plagued Owen to his starting line-up for his first match in charge at home to title-chasing Chelsea on Saturday.

Owen is Newcastle's top scorer this season with 10 goals, but has made just seven appearances since the turn of the year, with Shearer hoping he can stay clear of further injury in the eight-game run-in.

"I spoke to Michael and a few of the players to try to remind them of the standards and the qualities they possess but most importantly what they think of themselves," Shearer said after being officially unveiled on Thursday.

"It is well known Michael has had his fair share of injuries but his goalscoring record is fabulous and I think a club in this position needs goals.

"We have a great goalscorer to get us that."

Newcastle go into Saturday's game in the relegation zone and Shearer is taking a realistic view of their plight.

"We have a massive fight on our hands in difficult circumstances. We've got injuries but we will face it head on and give it a right good go," he said.

"We are third-bottom of the league -- whether that is because of bad luck, bad play, low confidence, poor refereeing decisions it doesn't matter, it is history.

"I love this football club and I have been given an opportunity to do something about it. I believe I can."

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Shearer, a legend on Tyneside who scored 206 goals in 404 games for his home town club, takes over from previous caretaker boss Chris Hughton, who himself was standing in for Joe Kinnear as he recovers from a triple heart by-pass.

He met the squad for the first time at the club's Benton training ground and took training with his new assistant Iain Dowie.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley turned to Shearer for the final eight games of the season with the club without a win in 12 games and facing the drop to the second-flight of English football.

It has proved a popular decision with fans, who turned against Ashley after another club legend Kevin Keegan walked out at the start of the season in a row over transfer policy.

Shearer was given a rousing reception by the fanatical fans of the north-east of club who had gathered at the ground to await his arrival.

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