Newcastle V West Ham at St James' Park: LIVE

16 January 2016 09:30
Newcastle V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Swansea's loss will be Newcastle's gain, says new signing Jonjo Shelvey

Newcastle new boy Jonjo Shelvey insists he is no bad boy after an ignominious exit from Swansea.

The 23-year-old England international's attitude was questioned as his spell at the Liberty Stadium turned sour, with interim boss Alan Curtis seemingly having decided he was surplus to requirements in the wake of his predecessor Garry Monk's departure.

However, Shelvey, who started only two games in his final two months in south Wales and was involved in a heated exchange with a fan after the second of them, Sunday's FA Cup third-round defeat at Oxford, has vowed to make the Swans pay after sealing a B#12million switch to St James' Park.

He said: "I want game time. I was told I didn't suit the style of Swansea's play by the manager. I never once asked to leave, I never came out in an interview to say that.

"It's just that I wasn't going to play, wasn't getting my chance and I needed a new challenge. I was lucky a massive club showed interest in me and I'm a very fortunate boy to be here, and I realise that.

"The Swansea fans got on my back a bit at the end, without knowing what was going on behind the scenes. I was training hard and competing for a place in the team.

"I'd played the majority of games in the season and picked up five bookings - I was suspended and didn't come back. I never got a chance of getting back in the team, so I felt I was a bit hard done by. The fans got on my back and said I had a bad attitude without really knowing what was going on behind the scenes.

"Obviously it is going to be Swansea's loss in the end. I'm just lucky enough to find a club in Newcastle that have shown interest in me."

Shelvey is likely to make his debut for the Magpies against West Ham on Saturday.

Meanwhile, head coach Steve McClaren has confirmed that midfielder Cheick Tiote has travelled to China to discuss a proposed move to Shanghai Shenhua.

That means Tiote will not be in the squad for the Hammers clash, unlike Florian Thauvin, who is available for selection despite suggestions he could rejoin Marseille on loan after failing to settle on Tyneside.

But Holland international Siem De Jong will be missing for up to two weeks after suffering an eye injury, which required hospital treatment, in training.

Meanwhile, Slaven Bilic believes positive thinking could keep West Ham in the race for a Champions League spot.

The in-form Hammers have won their last three matches to move within a point of Tottenham in fourth place.

Upton Park boss Bilic is continually playing down their chances, insisting no one at the club is thinking about a top-four finish despite their fine season so far.

But even the laid-back Croatian had to admit, in his own inimitable way, that there is no harm in trying.

"If you ask me if we are thinking about it realistically and starting to be a little bit big-headed about the Champions League, no, we are not," he said.

"We know that we are West Ham and we are enjoying the season and we are respecting every opponent without being afraid of them, and that's it.

"Are we favourites now to finish in the top four? We are not. But nobody can take the hope and the belief out of you.

"My philosophy in life is that there is nothing wrong with being confident, optimistic or positive. For me, on the contrary, you have to be like that if you want to get any chance to make it, whatever you do in your life.

"If you go to take a driving test and you say 'I can't do it', of course you're going to fail. If you got on a date and you're approaching a girl in a nightclub and you think she's going to tell you off and all that, no chance.

"But if you are positive, you have a chance. For the Champions League, or whatever - top 10, or staying up. Sunderland believe they can stay up. You have to do it, without that there is no chance."

West Ham travel to Newcastle looking to set a club record of nine straight unbeaten Barclays Premier League matches.

"They are definitely improving," said Bilic of the Magpies. "They had a slow start; a new team, a new manager, new everything.

"They are a massive club which in recent seasons had slow starts or difficult seasons. But they have improved, they have a good squad, great individuals, great strikers.

"They made a good comeback against Manchester United and they are on a high, so I expect a difficult game at a great stadium."

Source: PAR