SHOLA Ameobi insists he can end the season as Newcastle United’s top scorer – despite spending as much time in the treatment room as on the pitch.
Ameobi has seven goals to his name so far this season, leaving him four behind captain Kevin Nolan and the departed Andy Carroll.
And the 29-year-old – who made his comeback from a fractured cheekbone in the defeat to Everton a week ago – is looking to add to that tally over the remaining two months of the campaign.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been out for a large part of the season which isn’t great,” he said
“But if I get a chance to start a few games, I definitely want to help this team get safe, and I can do that by scoring a few goals. We’ll see what comes.”
Ameobi was fitted with a protective mask to hasten his return to action.
The injury is yet to heal fully, and while conscious of the risk he of a repeat fracture, which would be inoperable, Ameobi won’t let it affect him on the pitch.
“At the end of the day I’m out there,” he added. “You just have to forget the ailment and what’s gone on, and just do your best.”
That’s what I’ve always done, and that I’ll do until the end of the season.”
Ameobi suffered the break away to Fulham last month, when he was accidentally caught by Steve Sidwell early in the game.
Ameobi said: “It’s just frustrating – I knew as soon as he made contact that I’d broken it. Obviously, I had it seven years earlier on the other cheek. I sort of knew that feeling, and it was very frustrating, but it was great that I was back three and a half weeks later, which wasn’t the case seven years ago.
“I’m just looking to make the most of this time. This is time I shouldn’t really have, so I have to do the best I can to most of the opportunity I get.”
Newcastle remain in ninth place after the Everton defeat, their fifth in the league on home turf.
While injuries are hindering Pardew, Ameobi believes what United’s depleted squad lacks in numbers, it makes up in spirit, something the players will need in abundance at the Britannia Stadium, and in the eight subsequent games.
“It was a disappointing day (against Everton), but we can’t let that get us down,” added Ameobi.
“We’ve got four home games to go, and we have to look to give our fans a great finish to the season here.
“Four wins would be fantastic, and we know we’ve got enough quality to keep on plodding on.
“We’ve got a never-say-die mentality here, and that’s what’s held us in good stead, not just at home, but away from home.
“The next game at Stoke’s going to be a tough one, but we’re going to go there looking to win the game. I think that positive attitude can only hold us in good stead.”
Meanwhile, Ameobi’s younger brother Sammy, also a striker on Newcastle’s books, is with the Nigeria Under-20 squad in Dubai ahead of the African Youth Championships later this month.
The tournament was due to be staged in Libya, but has been moved to South Africa because of unrest in the country.