Owen targets goal against Reds
Mon, 24 Dec 2012 15:11:00
Michael Tonge has confirmed he wants to sign a permanent deal with Leeds United following the end of his loan spell.
The 29-year-old midfielder, who joined Leeds on loan from Stoke in September, has made 22 appearances for Neil Warnock's side, who have won five of their last six npower Championship matches.
"I'm gutted it's finished," said Tonge, whose contract at Stoke expires at the end of the season. "Obviously I can't play now until something's sorted because my loan has finished now.
"When you're on a roll you want to keep playing and hopefully the lads will keep playing like that and getting the points. I wanted to keep playing, but it's the way it works with 93 days.
"When I first came here we were thin on the ground with injuries, but now there's competition all over and that gets an extra 10% out of people. If we can keep that together, we'll make a challenge."
Tonge, who began his career at Sheffield United and made almost 300 first-team appearances under then Blades boss Warnock, added on Leeds' official website: "We've beaten some good sides and we know what we can do.
"We just need to keep going. We're desperate to get in the top six and I'm desperate to come back and help the lads, so fingers crossed."
Stoke striker Michael Owen has plenty of happy memories from his time at Liverpool, but does not look back too fondly on the occasions he has played against them.
The former England international enjoyed the most prolific days of his career at Liverpool, where he came through the youth ranks.
Since leaving the Reds in 2004 though, he has failed to score a single goal against them and Owen admits he has rarely had much fun when being on the opposing team.
The 33-year-old will be hoping the trend changes on Boxing Day when the Potters host Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League, a game in which he could make his first Stoke appearance since October 27 having overcome a hamstring problem.
Owen - who departed Anfield for Real Madrid and moved on to Newcastle and Manchester United before joining Stoke this season - told Independent Sports News: "It is a strange feeling really playing against your old club, especially one where you were there for around 15 years.
"Liverpool are a big part of my life and career and I had some of the best times of my life at the club.
"So certainly I have happy memories. I have not been so happy playing against them since; I have never scored and not particularly enjoyed it."
Stoke, currently ninth in the table, head into the clash with eighth-placed Liverpool in fine form.
Tony Pulis' men are unbeaten in their last eight matches and Owen is optimistic they can keep the run going.
"I don't see any reason why not," Owen said. "We had a really tough start to the season and we picked up points against some of the big teams.
"Then we went into a period of games where you would look at them on paper and say we had a chance of picking up points, and we have duly done that.
"We are on a nice run of form. Every game is tough in the Premier League, but there is no reason why we can't continue it."
While a maiden top-10 Premier League finish looks a realistic prospect and a European berth is not beyond the realms of possibility, Pulis has continually insisted he will focus on no other target than reaching 40 points.
Owen shares his manager's sentiments on the matter, adding: "I think our ambitions are probably still the same.
"First and foremost everyone wants to survive in the league, no matter what team you play for, so you want to hit that magic 40 points before you start dreaming about anything else.
"Then once you have done that, you want to finish the season as well as you can and get as high as you can.
"The club were in Europe last year (in the Europa League after reaching the 2011 FA Cup Final) and that was a fantastic achievement.
"We know that is possible, but first and foremost it is about getting to 40 points and then we'll reassess from there."
It remains to be seen whether another of Stoke's former Liverpool players, midfielder Charlie Adam, will be involved on Boxing Day after he missed Saturday's 0-0 draw at Tottenham having been granted compassionate leave following the death of his father.