Keegan hits the jackpot

Exciting new strike force is firing the Magpies to safety

Viduka & Owen: Gelling together

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Kevin Keegan admits that he took a massive gamble in forming his exciting three-pronged strike force.

The Newcastle boss was prepared to risk playing Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins in tandem, and has been pleasantly surprised by the results.

He acknowledges that the experiment could have backfired badly, and with the Magpies embroiled in the battle against the drop there could have been disastrous consequences.

However, since introducing the system in the 1-1 draw away at Birmingham, the Magpies have won their last three games in a row to pull clear of the drop zone and into the safety of mid-table.

Of the 10 goals scored in those four matches, all but two have come from Owen, Viduka or Martins.

Risk

Keegan has been widely criticised throughout his managerial career for a supposed lack of tactical nous, but is delighted to see one of his more creative moves pay off so handsomely.

"I just saw them in training and just wanted to get some more goals into the side," he told the Evening Chronicle.

"I felt I would like to play the team I would like myself to see play.

"Had it been pre-season, it would not have been in any way a risk but it was at Birmingham where, had it backfired, it could have been disastrous for us.

"But sometimes in our situation, where we were up against the wall a bit, you have to take what looks like a gamble."