Shola itching to get the nod
Shola Ameobi has warned Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse he will not be satisfied with playing a supporting role to their double act.
The 31-year-old got the nod alongside Ba for last Sunday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland, and although he was sacrificed before half-time following Cheick Tiote's sending-off, he has no intention of surrendering his place as West Brom head for St James' Park on Sunday.
The Senegal internationals played key roles in last season's superb surge up the Barclays Premier League table, Ba scoring 15 of his 16 goals during the first half of the season and Cisse contributing 13 following his arrival from Freiburg in January.
As a result, Ameobi found himself largely providing the back-up, but with manager Alan Pardew insisting there is nothing to choose between the trio, he is hoping for an extended run in the team.
He said: "I am a guy who feeds off the manager. If I know he's got confidence in me, that's when I produce my best game.
"It's important as a player that you know your manager has got faith in you, and even when I am not playing, he makes me feel a part of what he is doing here, and that's very important to me.
"It was a slow start at the start of the season, being injured, so I feel I am making up for lost time and raring to go.
"I feel very, very good, my game is there and I'm just itching to play more football, and if I get the nod, I have to show what I can do because we have got two other great strikers at this club who have kept me out of the team.
"I have to make sure if I get my chance, that I take it."
Ba has already scored six times this season with Cisse currently on two, although he might have added to his tally during Thursday night's 1-0 Europa League victory over Club Brugge in which he was twice denied by keeper Bojan Jorgacevic.
Ameobi has only one goal to his name so far, the opener in a 3-0 win against Bordeaux earlier this month, but is confident there are more to come.
He said: "Obviously last season, I didn't get too many, so it's something I am looking to rectify this season.
"As a striker, goals breed confidence and if I can get as many early on as I can, I know my confidence will grow and that can only help the team."
Midfielder Tiote starts a three-match ban. Pardew is likely to restore most of the men he left out of the starting line-up against Brugge with Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Ameobi and Ba all rested.
West Brom boss Steve Clarke will not compromise his attacking beliefs against Newcastle - the club at which he took his first steps on the coaching ladder.
Clarke saw the Baggies' gamble on trying to win last weekend's home Premier League clash with Manchester City backfire as Edin Dzeko nicked a stoppage-time winner.
Many managers would have been happy to settle for a point against the champions but, although disappointed with the outcome, it will not lead to Clarke rethinking the way he wants Albion to play.
He said: "I think what I said after the game could have been construed in different ways - but I don't regret that we tried to win the game.
"I regretted that we didn't get something out of the game but that is a big difference.
"I wouldn't change my philosophy and think, `if only I'd put on three defenders and shut up shop and tried see the game out'.
"That's not the way we've been this year and in other games we have been rewarded for being attacking late in a game and making attacking changes.
"On another day and with the right bounce of the ball we would have scored the winner.
"We had chances to get the winner before Manchester City caught us with the sucker-punch and we also had a chance cleared off the line after the 2-1.
"From that point of view we have no regrets and the philosophy won't change. We want to be positive."
Clarke worked under Ruud Gullit and Sir Bobby Robson on Tyneside and believes the Magpies are a shining example for many clubs to try to emulate.
He said: "I think Newcastle is a blueprint for any club with ambition."
Clarke will check on the fitness of midfielder Claudio Yacob before finalising his side. The Argentina international suffered a hamstring injury against Manchester City.
Skipper Chris Brunt (hamstring) and right-back Billy Jones (knee) have resumed training and could be in contention.