DANNY Guthrie is desperate to put his injury frustration behind him – by helping Newcastle United over the finish line.
Guthrie made his first start in two months in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The midfielder – who came in for the suspended Cheik Tiote – rewarded manager Alan Pardew’s faith in him with a powerful performance in the resounding win, which took United up to ninth in the Premier League.
Next is a trip to Aston Villa on Sunday, and Newcastle go into the game knowing another three points could be enough to banish any lingering fears of relegation.
Guthrie was on the pitch when United were relegated at Villa Park on the final day of the 2008-09 campaign, and the 23-year-old’s desperate to play his part in securing another season of Premier League football at St James’s Park.
And Guthrie – who grew up in Wolverhampton – believes the “streetwise” performance against Mick McCarthy’s side bodes well for the rest of the campaign.
“First and foremost it was a brilliant result,” Guthrie said.
“We knew it was a massive game. In the last six games, we’d lost a couple and teams had gained on us.
“It was a great opportunity to win a game, and we did that emphatically.
“Sometimes we’re a bit naïve at home, and we need to be a bit more streetwise and kill games off.
“The players hear the roar of the crowd, and everyone wants to bomb forward. We have to be smart, and I think we were. The second goal just before half time eased everything.”
Guthrie missed the start of this season because of a knee injury, and the former Liverpool player’s start against Wolves was only his ninth of a “frustrating” campaign.
With captain Kevin Nolan now suspended as well as Tiote for Sunday’s game against Villa, Guthrie’s return to form and fitness is timely for United.
“I’ve had a frustrating season,” Guthrie went on. “It had been six weeks since I’d played, I think. It’s always difficult to get into a game, let alone the pressure of this game, but I was really pleased.
“Like anyone, I can only get better with games, and hopefully I can have a little run in the team now.
“Everyone knows how well Cheik’s done. We’re two different types of player. He’s done brilliantly this season, but I can only bring what I’ve got to the team, which is getting the ball down and passing.
“It’s strange how it works out – you’re not involved for six weeks, and then you could be looking at a run of two or three games.
“I was pleased to get 90 minutes. I felt good, and can only get better. My sharpness and fitness can only improve.”
H Newcastle United’s pre-season the other side of the Atlantic is taking shape.
And John Carver is confident the friendlies against Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City will set Alan Pardew’s side up for the new campaign.
Carver managed Toronto FC in Major League Soccer for more than a year, and he’s confident the hours spent travelling will be more than cancelled out by the facilities available to Newcastle.
United yesterday announced the second fixture in the United States against Columbus Crew on July 26.