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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Newcastle striker Mark Viduka wants to stay at Newcastle

Newcastle striker Mark Viduka insists he is keen to remain with the club and has urged the hierarchy to do all they can to retain Alan Shearer as manager.

Viduka, 33, is out of contract at the end of this season, which is when Shearer's interim role is due to end.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald: "I'd love to spend more time at this club.

"I have been here for two years and we've had five managers. I would say to whoever is in charge, keep Alan for as long as he needs."

Viduka added: "The fans love him, he is Newcastle through and through, he is a big personality, people respect him and the players respect him."

Newcastle boosted their chances of avoiding relegation by beating Middlesbrough 3-1 on Monday to move out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Viduka has returned from an Achilles tendon injury to feature in four of Shearer's six games in charge, helping the Magpies to a draw at Portsmouth and the victory over Boro - their first win at St James' Park since 21 December.

He claims to have been largely overlooked by Joe Kinnear, who was forced to stand down as Newcastle manager after undergoing triple heart bypass surgery in February, and credits Shearer for his impressive form of late.

"When I had problems with my Achilles, I worked hard to get back, but Joe didn't look like he wanted to use me," said Viduka.

"When Alan came in, the first thing he said to me was 'Are you up for a fight?' and I am always up for a fight. I said 'Definitely'.

"I'm a massive fan of Alan's. I admired him as a player, we play the same position, and when someone with his personality and what he has done in the game comes and says 'I need you', it lifts you."

Newcastle face Fulham at home on Saturday before finishing the season away to Aston Villa, and Viduka is backing Shearer to help save the club from relegation and stay on as manager next season.

"He's had a massive impact, I wish him all the best. I hope we stay up and he's got a long career here," said the Australian.

"Everybody respects Alan - he's got that automatically. Maybe he doesn't have the experience as a manager, but he has got that presence about him."

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