SHOLA Ameobi says there’s still life in his Newcastle United career yet – after making a flying start to pre-season.
The long-serving striker, linked with a summer move away from St James’s Park, has scored in the club’s last two friendlies.
Ameobi scored Newcastle’s equaliser in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Pacos de Ferreira – three days after coming off the bench to find the net in a 3-1 defeat to Rio Ave.
The 31-year-old is entering the last year of his United deal.
Pardew – who is desperate for striking reinforcements to arrive this summer – suggested late last season he was open to the idea of Ameobi being given a contract extension.
For his part, Ameobi, one of only two senior strikers taken to Portugal by Pardew, just wants to play regularly, preferably at Newcastle.
He made just four Premier League starts last term, and he doesn’t want to spend another season on the bench.
Asked about the speculation on his future, Ameobi said: “There’s nothing I want to say.
“I’m a Newcastle player, and I’ve got a year left on my contract.
“Every season there’s been speculation about me. I’ve always been focused on Newcastle.
“Whatever happens, happens, but I don’t really pay much attention.
“I just want to score goals for Newcastle. I feel I can play football for Newcastle. I think I’ve got a little bit left in me.
“Whichever way the club wants to go, it’s down to them.
“If I’m wanted at Newcastle, I’ll play at Newcastle. If I’m not, I’ll go elsewhere.
“It means a lot to be playing now. I’m in the latter stages of my career. In recent months, I haven’t done that, which is very frustrating.
“I feel like I’m fit and strong enough to compete with anyone here at Newcastle. Hopefully, I can push for a place.”
Meanwhile, Gael Bigirimana is ready to make up for lost time with his club – after a frustrating summer with his country.
The midfielder made just one brief substitute’s appearance in England’s Under-20 World Cup campaign.
Bigirimana reported back for pre-season later this the bulk of his team-mates after his involvement in the tournament, and wasn’t in Newcastle’s squad for the club’s two-game tour of Portugal.
Instead, the 19-year-old stayed behind on Tyneside to train with Willie Donachie’s development squad.
However, Bigirimana could be involved in Sunday’s friendly against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
“Bigi’s a player we’ve got high hopes for, but he’d literally walked through the door (before the team left for Portugal),” Pardew said.
“We thought it was fair he stayed with the Under-21s.
“With Moussa (Sissoko), (Vurnon) Anita, (Yohan) Cabaye and Cheik (Tiote), it was going to be difficult for him to get a game.
“I rather he played and see how does.
“He didn’t get much action with England’s Under-20s, so he needs game time.”