SHOLA Ameobi is determined Newcastle United sign off in style at St James’s Park – but the striker’s own season looks set to go on well into June, writes MILES STARFORTH.
Alan Pardew’s side wrap up their campaign against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday (4pm).
And Ameobi, yesterday named in Nigeria’s squad for next month’s internationals against Argentina and Ethiopia, has insisted that he and his colleagues are not about to take their feet off the pedal.
A win could take Newcastle, lying 12th in the Premier League, as high as eighth.
Ameobi felt the hard-fought point Newcastle earned at Chelsea last weekend underlined the professionalism in Pardew’s squad, his players not having eased up in the weeks since they secured another season of top-flight football.
“We have to stay professional, regardless of the fact we know we’re safe,” Ameobi said.
“At the end of the day, we have a lot of professional pride. We wanted to show it at Chelsea, and we did that.
“So let’s not mess it up against West Brom, because we want to send the fans away happy and looking forward to next season.”
Ameobi’s younger brother Sammy could again be involved, having made his debut in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.
Pardew, without a number of key players, not least captain Kevin Nolan and Cheik Tiote, fielded a significantly weakened team at Chelsea, who were overwhelming favourites to win.
But Newcastle twice came from behind to claim a draw, meaning they have been unbeaten in three games against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
And the result has buoyed United ahead of the visit of West Brom, who are a point better off in 11th place.
“The fixtures against Chelsea this season have been good to us,” Ameobi added. “When you hold last season’s champions twice in a season, it’s a good achievement, and we beat them in the Carling Cup.
“We have to take confidence from that. The players in there worked so hard – you have to when you are playing world-class players. We got our just rewards.”
Meanwhile, Ameobi has been named in Nigeria’s squad, meaning the 29-year-old won’t be able to rest up for a couple of weeks.
Nigeria face Argentina in a friendly on June 1, and meet Ethiopia four days later in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. However, Ameobi’s participation is still dependant on Fifa’s approval, with the Nigerian Federation applying to football’s governing body for the Tynesider and Wigan’s Victor Moses to change nationality.