Yak backing Martins to shine
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Yakubu Aiyegbeni is backing Obafemi Martins to deliver the goods for Newcastle.
Middlesbrough ace Yakubu Aiyegbeni is backing Newcastle hit-man Obafemi Martins to deliver the goods for The Magpies once he is settled.
Yakubu believes his Nigerian international colleague has all the attributes to succeed in England, but just needs to time to adapt to life in England.
Martins has just one goal to his name so far following his move from Internazionale and is already under pressure to fire The Magpies up the table.
However, Yakubu believes the 21-year-old should be given more time to familiarise himself with his new surroundings before being asked to perform at his best.
"Oba is so quick and very strong but when you are a new player and come to The Premiership, it can take you time to settle in," explained Yakubu.
"It may be three months, it may even take one full season but I believe he will do well at Newcastle.
"They need to help him settle in as quickly as possible and help him score goals because he is a good player."
Meanwhile, Abel Xavier is desperate to win a fresh deal with Middlesbrough after turning out for their reserves on Thursday night.
The Portuguese stopper is back at Boro after his original deal with the North East club was cancelled last year after he failed a drugs test.
"People have said my career was finished three or four times, but I'm here, at war," said Xavier.
"Boro have shown an exemplary attitude and deserve all my respect. I'm grateful for the way they are treating me."
Gareth Southgate eased the pressure on his shoulders following their win over Everton and the Boro boss wants the side to cope better when influential George Boateng is absent.
"We are not a one-man team and we have to prove we can get results with or without any of our players," said Southgate.
"We have done that in the past, but the few matches we played without George, we did not get the wins we wanted."