Newcastle United’s Shefki Kuqi set for run-out

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SHEFKI Kuqi steps up his bid for a first-team place tonight insisting he can fulfill an important role for Newcastle United.

The Finnish striker has been used sparingly by Magpies manager Alan Pardew since his shock move to Tyneside last month, signing as a free agent to bolster United’s squad after the sale of Andy Carroll.

Kuqi will get a much-needed run-out tonight when the reserves host Arsenal’s second string at St James’s Park, having come on as an 85th-minute substitute against Everton on Saturday.

Kuqi knows he is behind Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best and Nile Ranger in the queue for a striking berth, but insists his experience can play a crucial role in the run-in to the season.

“When I got the chance to come here I jumped at the chance,” admitted the 34-year-old. “It was a dream for me.

“So I am happy to do any job that is needed for the team.

“I can bring plenty of experience to the team.

“Alan Pardew gave me a massive chance late in my career at Newcastle so I am looking to repay him in every minute I get on the pitch.

“It’s great to know when somebody believes in your ability.”

“The Premier League is where any player wants to play.

“There are a great set of lads here and we’re trying to finish as high up the table as we can.

“With nine games left we could still gain a respectable position and that’s all we are focused on doing.”