NEWCASTLE United’s Premier League challenge has been energised – by the club’s golden oldies!
That’s the view of manager Alan Pardew, who has hailed the contribution of “stalwarts” Shola Ameobi and Mike Williamson.
The pair, both in their 30s, weren’t expected to be starting week in, week out at the start of the campaign.
Yet they have been instrumental in helping the club take 15 points out of a possible 18 over the past six weeks.
Striker Ameobi, 32, has made an important contribution up front, while 30-year-old Williamson has been a rock in defence.
“This run of games is a lot down to Shola and Willo, two of our old stalwarts, you might argue,” Pardew said.
“But you’re still got to have very, very good players around them.
“The most important part of this group is our team ethic. That’s getting the results.”
Long-serving Ameobi – whose United career has been beset by a series of injuries – has shown there’s plenty of life in his Newcastle career yet.
And the World Cup-bound Nigeria international could be offered a contract extension by the club in the New Year, with his deal set to expire at the end of the season.
“He is one of my stalwarts – 100 per cent,” said Pardew. “I make no bones about that.
“I’ve probably been his biggest fans, I’d think. I’ll continue to be a fan as long as he plays like he is at the minute.”
This afternoon’s game against Southampton is followed by a visit to Pardew’s former club Crystal Palace next Saturday.
“Obviously, coming off a win at Man United is great preparation for those two games.
“They’re two very different games.”