Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pompey Call Looms for United Prospect

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pompey Call Looms for United Prospect

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards Chief Sports Writer

KAZENGA LuaLua is on standby to make his first Premier League appearance of the season against Portsmouth following his match-winning performance in the FA Youth Cup.

LuaLua (pictured right), the cousin of former United striker Lomana, scored twice for the Academy side - who will play QPR in the next round - against Oldham Athletic in midweek and manager Joe Kinnear is tempted to draft him into the side because of the squad's injury problems.

Kinnear has been impressed with the teenager, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Wednesday, and feels he could be ready to step up to senior level having played for both the Academy and Reserve sides this season.

Although Danny Guthrie and Nicky Butt are back in training following back and hamstring troubles, they will both have fitness tests this morning before the team travel down to the south coast ahead of Sunday's clash with Pompey.

If either fail to make it, LuaLua will make the trip as the Magpies are short on options in the centre of midfield and were forced to play the entire second half against Stoke City last weekend without a specialist in that position.

Although the youngster is normally used in a wide attacking positions, he can play centrally and his speed and quick feet would bring something different to the side, even if Kinnear only uses him as a substitute at Fratton Park.

United's injury problems are a major headache for Kinnear, who knows his side have not won an away game in the Premier League since the 4-1 destruction of Tottenham back in March.

However, it is in such circumstances that young players can get the chance to shine and LuaLua has shown enough glimpses of quality to suggest he has the ability to make the step up to senior level.

LuaLua, who along with Nile Ranger has been the star of the Academy side which has won nine games on the trot, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before claiming asylum in Britain.

He has already made four substitute appearances for the Magpies - making his debut against Stoke City in last season's FA Cup - under former managers Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan and is desperate for a first-team chance. …

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