Solano longing for Dyer's return - 31/01/2006
Having underlined the importance of the FA Cup to Newcastle this season, Nolberto Solano is confident the imminent return of Kieron Dyer can enable the Magpies to salvage their season.
The England midfielder increased his participation at the club's training ground yesterday and, with Graeme Souness hopeful that Dyer could be back in action this weekend, the week has begun in a positive manner for United's players and their manager.
Having given one of his best performances in a Newcastle shirt in an FA Cup tie against Southampton two seasons ago, the 27-year-old will hope to be firing on all cylinders again by the time the Saints travel to Tyneside on February 18 in the competition's fifth round.
The fresh impetus that a fit and in-form Dyer would give the lethargic Magpies could prove to be the difference between success and failure for Souness and his side this season.
"We have really missed Kieron and he could make a huge difference to us," said Solano, who has identified a shortage of pace as one of United's biggest problems.
"He's a special player who has great pace and that's what we are lacking at the minute. It's fantastic news for everyone at the club that Kieron is making progress and we can't wait to see him back on the pitch. He's such an important player for the team, it's no wonder that we have struggled without him. It's great to have Scott Parker and Emre back and I hope now that Kieron will be okay between now and the end of the season."
Dyer has started just two first-team fixtures this season but he could be in the squad when the Magpies face Portsmouth this weekend. The former Ipswich favourite will be eased back by his manager but, by the time Southampton arrive in the North-East next month, he will hope to be in contention for a starting place. It will be a game of great significance for both the player and his club.
"We know how important the FA Cup is," said Solano of a competition which represents the club's best chance of bringing European football back to St James's Park. "It's important for every club but it's especially important for Newcastle this season and we need to do well in this competition.
"The manager has made sure that everyone knows how important the FA Cup is for the club, for the fans, for all of us at Newcastle. We want to win the competition, that could save our season. We haven't done very well this season but we can make up for that by doing well in the FA Cup. It would be fantastic to get to the final."
United must forget about cup matters for the time being and concentrate on the league, and, with a Premiership trip to Manchester City next up for Souness and his side, the Magpies must build on their 2-0 fourth-round win at Cheltenham tomorrow night.
"We did what we had to do and now we can look forward to the next round with some confidence," added the Peruvian. "The most-important thing at the weekend was to win and that's what we did.
"We also played some good football and we must produce more of that and go on a winning run. We have done well in the FA Cup. Now we have got to concentrate on the league again and make sure we get some better results in the Premiership.
"We're all feeling a lot happier having had a positive result at the weekend and we must keep that going now and take it into the Manchester City game. We need a good run until the end of the season.
"It's nice to have won a game for the manager, he has been going through some tough times but it's good to see him with a smile on his face again. He is a good manager and a good man and I hope that things are about to change for him."
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