Ameobi still hoping for a final fling with Newcastle United’s starting XI

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SHOLA Ameobi has told of his frustration at a lack of first-team football – as he doesn’t want to end his Newcastle United career on the bench.

The striker made his first appearance in six weeks at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Ameobi – the club’s longest-serving player – was used as a substitute against Fulham. But the 32-year-old couldn’t stop the Premier League’s bottom club condemning United to a 1-0 defeat.

This season – Ameobi’s 14th as a first-team player at Newcastle – is expected to be his last at St James’s Park, with his contract running out at the end of the campaign.

And the Nigeria international – who hopes to go to the summer’s World Cup finals – isn’t content to play a bit-part role between now and the end of the campaign.

“It’s frustrating for me, but I just have to bide my time,” Ameobi said. “I’ve loved my time in Newcastle, no more so than when I’m playing.

“I just want to help the team. When that doesn’t happen, it’s frustrating. I know the manager picks a team he thinks can win.

“We have to respect that as a player, but it doesn’t stop it being frustrating.

“Hopefully, I can help us in these last nine games, and get us as high as we can.”

Fulham substitute Ashkan Dejagah scored the only goal of the game at Craven Cottage, where Papiss Cisse – handed a start in the absence of the injured Loic Remy – was twice denied by goalkeeper Robbie Stockdale.

The result saw United drop down a place to ninth in the table ahead of Saturday’s home game against Crystal Palace.

Ameobi admitted Newcastle’s performance was below-par.

“It was a disappointing display from us,” said Ameobi, who has scored 77 career goals for United. “They’re struggling, but we didn’t really produce enough to win the game.”

H Newcastle United Reserves will play either Ashington or Blyth Spartans in the final of the Les Todd Northumberland FA Senior Cup after they defeated Whitley Bay 1-0 in front of a crowd of 877 at Hillheads last night.

In a rather attritional battle, it wasn’t until the 85th minute that Rolando Aarons scored the only goal when his shot found the net off the far post.

Alan Pardew, banned at Craven Cottage on Saturday was present along with John Carver, Peter Beardsley and Steve Stone.