Shola Ameobi scan boost, but striker still a doubt for Newcastle United

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A SCAN on Shola Ameobi’s swollen knee scan has come up clear – but the Newcastle striker is still a doubt for Manchester United’s visit to St James’s Park next Tuesday.

Ameobi was a late casualty for Newcastle United’s defeat at Villa Park on Sunday.

The 29-year-old’s knee swelled up on the eve of the game, and it was scanned on Monday.

While that didn’t show up any damage, manager Alan Pardew is not yet sure whether he’ll be involved next midweek when Sir Alex Ferguson takes his Premier League leaders to Tyneside.

Injury and suspension-hit Pardew is already without Leon Best for the rest of the season, though he does have Stephen Ireland available for the first time.

“It’s good news on Shola,” Pardew said. “The scan’s come up clear, which is really good news. We obviously didn’t want to run without him until the end of the season.

“We’ve got to protect him now, and make sure he’s involved in as many games as possible. He’s a possibility for Manchester United.”

In Ameobi’s absence, Nile Ranger made his first Premier League start for Newcastle.

However, Ranger had a frustrating afternoon, his only real effort on goal being easily gathered by Brad Friedel.

And Pardew felt the absence of Ameobi – who scored in United’s 4-1 win over Wolves in his previous game – badly affected his already-weakened team.

While Joey Barton was named man of the match in that game, Pardew felt Ameobi also made an oustanding contribution.

Pardew added: “You’re only as good as your last game, and in that sense we lost our best player for Villa.

“It made a difference to our team. As well as Nile tried, he’s got a lot more to learn.”