STEVE Harper today rubbished talk of a fall-out with manager Alan Pardew – and reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle.
Tim Krul was chosen by Pardew, ahead of long-serving Harper, to start the season between the posts.
And the arrival of Rob Elliot – who has played in both of the Magpies’ Carling Cup games – led to speculation over Harper’s future at St James’s Park.
But the Easington-born 36-year-old – who has two years left on his contract – insists he’s happy to fight for a place.
And Harper says also understood Pardew’s keeness to give Elliot, signed from Charlton in August, an early taste of action.
“The manager’s been first-class,” said Harper.
“I read somewhere we’ve had a fall-out. We haven’t had a fall-out. I’ve had several discussions with him, and every one of them has been amicable.
“We have come out very positive, and I fully endorse what he is doing regarding the bench.
“This is my 19th season as a pro. At the start of the season, I had a few chats with the manager, and he told me he wanted to bring somebody in with Fraser Forster being on loan (at Celtic), and that may become permanent, who knows?
“It was important to get somebody in. He’s got Rob in now, and when you’re a young lad, it’s important to get involved as soon as possible.
“I have no problem with the rota system. Everybody knows I have a million T-shirts for sitting on the bench.
“It is good for Rob, and it’s good for the club, to get him involved and immersed.”
For the moment, Krul – who is away on international duty with Holland – is firmly in possession of the goalkeeping jersey, having been outstanding in the opening seven Premier League games.
For his part, Harper is pleased for Krul, who has credited the one-time Seaham Red Star keeper with being a huge influence on his career.
“The club made the decision to start with Tim at the start of the season, and he’s been outstanding,” said Harper. “You can’t take that away from him.
“Some games he’s been quiet, but against Fulham, the cup game against Forest and Wolves, he was outstanding. He’s played a big part in the start to the season, and I’ll continue to help him. I’ll help him as much as I can.
“He’s a big player for the future, and if I can help get the best out of him then, it’ll only benefit the club.”
Harper was given a run-out for Newcastle’s reserves in Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Bolton.
“At times we were on the back foot, but we defended very well. It was nice to have a few bits and bobs to do just to sharpen up. You never know what might happen,” said Harper.
“Tim’s away, and he might end up playing for Holland with (Maarten) Steklenburg injured, so you have to be ready.”
Meanwhile, Harper had a message for former United defender Darren Lough, who fractured his skull playing for Ashington against Vauxhall Motors in Saturday’s FA Cup tie.
“He’s a great lad, and he’s been in a bad way,” said Harper. “Everybody wishes him a speedy recovery.”