Alan Shearer has hinted that Michael Owen is in line for a recall to the Newcastle United starting line-up for Monday's must-win encounter with Middlesbrough.
Owen, 29, was dropped for last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Liverpool which edged the Magpies closer to relegation to the Championship.
The England striker is the club's top scorer, but has not found the net since January.
However, interim boss Shearer has hinted that Owen could be recalled for the relegation showdown with their local rivals at St James' Park.
When asked what response Owen would have to being dropped, he said: "I know the response I would get to be honest because he is that type of lad and he is that type of professional.
"It was a very, very difficult decision, without a doubt.
"He was disappointed, but he took it in a very professional way, as you would expect because of what he is and who he is."