Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Antoine Adds to Armoury; Sibierski 'Has Earned Right to New United Deal'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Antoine Adds to Armoury; Sibierski 'Has Earned Right to New United Deal'

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

JAMES Milner is confident Antoine Sibierski will still be a Newcastle player next season after insisting the Frenchman has done enough to earn a second year at St James's Park.

Sibierski's 12-month contract will expire this summer but, having spoken to Freddie Shepherd about awarding the 32-year-old an extended deal, Glenn Roeder is expected to retain the services of the industrious frontman.

The issue has been put on hold while the United boss attempts to add to his first-team squad before next week's transfer deadline and, although he has decided not to pursue his interest in the Serbian defender Goran Gavrancic, Roeder is confident a breakthrough will be made.

Should he fail, the makeshift Magpies will be forced to soldier on for the remainder of the campaign without reinforcement. And with Roeder's squad short of strikers, it would ensure that Sibierski has plenty more opportunities to make certain of the new contract his appreciative team-mates believe he deserves. "Antoine has been fantastic since he joined," said Milner of a player who, having missed last weekend's home fixture against West Ham as a result of concussion, is expected to return to action when Roeder's team host Aston Villa next Wednesday night.

"He gives us something else when he plays. With Obafemi Martins up front, we have electric pace and sometimes we need something else - someone who can hold it up well and who is really good in the air. He gives us all those things.

"Antoine has been one the first admit that some eyebrows were raised by supporters when he signed (last summer) because he was a free transfer. But he has responded in exactly the right manner and he has shown his quality. That's credit to him and he has proved to be a great signing.

"If he keeps playing like he has been doing, then the contract situation will take care of itself."

Like Sibierski, Titus Bramble and Nolberto Solano, Milner will also be rewarded with an extended contract at St James's Park this summer, but, with signing new players higher on Roeder's list of priorities than retaining existing ones, those deals have been put on the back burner. …

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