Campbell claims St James' Park move has been a success

22 February 2011 10:30
HE might not have played as much as he would have liked, but Sol Campbell insists his move to Newcastle United has still been a success.

Campbell moved to St James' Park as a free agent last summer, with former manager Chris Hughton tipping him to be a key figure in the current campaign.

Things have not go to plan however, either for Hughton, who was dismissed in December, or Campbell, who has made just three Premier League starts and three more substitute appearances for the Magpies.

His outing from the bench in last week's 2-0 win at Birmingham was only his second under Alan Pardew, and the current Newcastle boss must decide whether to take up the one-year option that was inserted into Campbell's contract last summer.

As things stand, there is every chance the 36-year-old will be released, but whatever happens in the close season, the former England international has no regrets above his move to the North-East.

"I've enjoyed it here," said Campbell. "It's been eventful and there have been ups and downs, but it's been good. I'm old enough to know you just have to get on with it as a player, and that is what we have done.

"At the moment, I'm fit. I've been okay for a couple of weeks and I'm happy to help out wherever and whenever I can. I'll play when I can and will support the team in everything they do."

Campbell's first-team opportunities have been hampered by a string of viruses and niggling injuries that have restricted his availability.

The form of Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson has kept him down the pecking order, with the imminent return of Steven Taylor likely to restrict his involvement further in the final three months of the campaign.

He will hope to at least be on the bench when Bolton visit St James' on Saturday, for a game that could all but guarantee Newcastle's participation in the Premier League next season.

This month's win at St Andrew's took the Magpies to the 35-point mark, one more than they achieved in the whole of their relegation season two years ago, and one more victory might well be enough to see them safe.

"We're eight points clear of the bottom three and, if you look at what we were trying to do when I signed, it's been a good season," said Campbell. "The boys have played really well and we could have had even more points than we've got.

"There have been a few games where we haven't got what we deserved, where things have not quite gone for us, so it was important we got a win at Birmingham and that sets us up nicely for the rest of the season.

"There is a confidence in the camp which shines through. We've moved

another step away from the mess below us that we don't want to get involved in.

"We don't want to be dragged into it and we've given ourselves some

breathing space. The sooner we make it mathematically impossible for us to get into any of that the better and that is what we are trying to do."

Steven Taylor's hopes of proving his fitness for Saturday's game with the Trotters suffered a blow when tonight's scheduled reserves game with Manchester United was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Source: Northern_Echo