Newcastle's Kevin Nolan wants to prove worth to manager Alan Shearer
14 May 2009 02:31
Nolan spoke out after being unceremoniously dropped by Shearer a fortnight ago before bouncing back to play a key role in the 3-1 defeat of fellow strugglers Middlesbrough at St James' Park on Monday night.
And now the former Bolton skipper - signed by Joe Kinnear in a £4.5-million deal last January - is setting his sights on proving Shearer was wrong to leave him out of the 0-0 draw against Portsmouth by helping Newcastle earn the points that could safeguard top-flight status when Fulham visit Tyneside on Saturday.
"A couple of weeks ago I wasn't even involved in the 18," said Nolan." That hurt and upset me a bit, and it was just about trying to get back in the team and prove people wrong.
"I'm working hard to do that, and hopefully I'll stay in the team for Saturday. That's the main aim â " to play the remaining games and get the right results.
"Alan's come in as the gaffer, and he was trying different things. I was disappointed that I wasn't part of his plans, but it's just one of those things.
"You can have a sulk about it, but you've just got to get on with it, work hard, and hope your chance will come. I was just delighted to get my chance.
"We've got some fantastic players here, so you're aware you're not going to be playing week in, week out if your performances aren't at the highest level.
"If you don't perform well, someone's ready to take their turn."
The 26-year-old had a hand in all three Newcastle goals against Boro which allowed his club to climb out of the relegation zone above Hull City.
It meant that Newcastle could effectively ensure their survival when Roy Hodgson's side visit the North-East if Hull lose on their visit to Bolton on Saturday rather than rely on their visit to Aston Villa on the last day of the season.
"A couple of weeks ago our destiny wasn't in our own hands," Nolan added.
"We were asking people to do us favours. Now we've put it back in our own hands, and it's up to us now.
"If we perform in the next two games, and get the right results, we stay up â " it's as simple as that.
"That's all we wanted. "We know the work's only just started, but hopefully this can be a springboard for the next two games."
Nolan warned against complacency as he focuses on the Fulham game.
"It is absolutely massive for us now," he continued. "The last time we won was against West Brom, which was a long, long time ago.
"We didn't follow that up with another win, but we've got two home games back-to-back, and we've managed to win one of them.
"We've got Fulham â " who aren't going to be pushovers â " but they're not great away from home. They have started to pick up points of late, so we know it's going to be a tough game.
"Any team who comes here is going to want to play. They're going to want to play on that pitch in front of that crowd, so it's going to be tough. They 've got no pressure on them, but we've got a lot of pressure on us.
"It's about this club being in the best league in the world. This club deserves to be in the league, and we all believe, come Saturday, we'll put another performance in like we did (against Middlesbrough), and we'll get the result we need."