Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Ameobi looks back to the future

Shola Ameobi hopes Newcastle's returning contingent can inspire a victory at Fulham

Shola Ameobi has urged his team-mates to remember the heroics of last season as they attempt to fight their way up the Barclays Premier League table.

The Magpies proved more than a match for all but the best during the 2011-12 campaign to mount a charge which took them into fifth place. This time around, injuries, suspensions and a general lack of from have made for a difficult start, and Alan Pardew's men head for Fulham just four points better off than neighbours Sunderland, who have slipped into the relegation zone.

However, Ameobi is confident that the quality is still there, and he said: "When you lose games like that in a row, which hasn't happened during the manager's tenure here, it's going to be very difficult and confidence can be low. But we have got a belief - we finished fifth last year and we have got to take that belief into this season."

Ameobi added: "When you are losing games, you have got to understand that the only way you can get yourself out of it is by working hard and hoping the quality you know you have got comes through. Thankfully, it did the other night [in a 3-0 win against Wigan] and hopefully that confidence can flow into Monday's game.

"That's the great thing about having all these games, you can put a bad defeat right behind you with a game three days later. We are looking forward to that and hopefully we can get back to winning ways."

The victory over Wigan ended a run of four successive league defeats and could hardly have come at a better time for Pardew and his players.

That, coupled with the impending returns of Davide Santon, Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Gabriel Obertan and Demba Ba from injury, will send them to Fulham in high spirits.

However, Newcastle's Premier League record at Craven Cottage is ordinary to say the least - they have lost five of their last six visits and were thrashed 5-2 there last season.

Ameobi said: "It's been a tough place for us to go in recent seasons. We are scrapping for our lives and we know we have got to put everything into it.

"We have certainly got the quality - and hopefully we will be getting a few players back as well, which will help boost the squad. Hopefully we can go down there and really lay all our cards on the table, and that's enough for a win."

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