Alan Pardew backs Shola Ameobi in Sunderland-Newcastle derby

19 August 2011 12:53
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping for more of the same from derby specialist Shola Ameobi as he targets a first victory over arch-rivals Sunderland.

The 29-year-old striker has six goals to his name against the Black Cats over the years including a double in last season's 5-1 rout at St James' Park.

Ameobi was born in Nigeria, but raised on Tyneside and has grown up with the rivalry which exists between the neighbouring clubs, and Pardew firmly believes that is at the root of his success in the fixture which matters more than any other to both sets of fans.

Black Cats nemesis: Shola Ameobi has six goals against Sunderland

He said: 'Shola has been here a long time and he has lived in the area.

'Everywhere you go, you are reminded, and Shola has had that for a number of years, so he knows that this is a massive game for the club and he probably gets himself up as high as he would for a cup final, and that bodes well.

'He will start on Saturday, I make no bones about that. He will be in the starting line-up.'

If Ameobi's performance alongside Andy Carroll in last October's demolition job provided the basis for Newcastle's success, it was then skipper Kevin Nolan who grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick.

Nolan also opened the scoring in the return at the Stadium of Light in January, only for Asamoah Gyan to bundle home an injury-time equaliser to deny the Magpies a double and Pardew victory in his first Wear-Tyne encounter.

Geordie hope: Alan Pardew with a Newcastle fan against Arsenal

However, he has since controversially departed for West Ham under a transfer policy which has once again been criticised by full-back Jose Enrique following his own move to Liverpool, and a vacancy exists for a new hero to write himself into Geordie folklore.

Pardew said: 'Every time a derby comes along, that vacancy is there for somebody.

'My experience of derbies is that you need to match the ferocity that is on the pitch, but usually the team which is calm and gets the ball down and plays are the victors.'

New blood: French midfielder Yohan Cabaye in action for Newcastle

Newcastle will go into the game still looking for Enrique's replacement and yet to find a striker to plug the gap left by Carroll when he headed for Anfield in January.

However, Pardew is convinced that the likes of summer signings Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba will make his side a different proposition.

He said: 'We haven't really found our identity yet. After somewhere between five and 10 games, we will know what this team can produce.

'It will be a different look to the team - I think we will control the ball better in games.

'But that's all talk at the moment. We have to do it on the pitch and hopefully we will put in a performance out there on Saturday and going forward that marks us as a bit of a surprise package. That's what we want to be.'

Fully fit: Dan Gosling is available for selection

Midfielder Dan Gosling is hoping to be part of that surprise package after missing all but a few minutes of last season - his only appearance came as a substitute at Sunderland - with a knee injury.

He said: 'It was a great atmosphere back at our place when we won that game, and we were so unlucky not to get the three points at the Stadium of Light.

'But hopefully we can get that bit of luck on our side this time. Fingers crossed, we will get a good result there.

'But Sunderland have brought eight or nine players in. They lost Jordan [Henderson] for a lot of money, which allowed them to spend, and they have spent on really good players. It's going to be a really good squad this year.'

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Source: Daily_Mail