SHOLA Ameobi is determined that Newcastle mark the Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day with a fitting performance.
The Magpies welcome Braga to St James’s Park tomorrow (6pm kick-off), as a series of events are being held across the country to honour Sir Bobby’s contribution to the game and raise money for charity.
Ameobi, 31, owes a huge debt to former Newcastle, Ipswich, Barcelona and England boss Robson, who passed away three years ago after a long battle against cancer.
With Sir Bobby having spent many years managing in Portugal, Ameobi feels Newcastle’s choice of opposition is appropriate. “Obviously, it’s Sir Bobby Robson Day,” Ameobi said. “He was a great man and mentor in my life.
“To be playing a Portuguese side as well is very fitting.
“I’m excited about that. Hopefully, I can get a few more minutes again, top up my fitness and keep on scoring.”
Newcastle have forged strong links with Braga since playing them in Faro just over a year ago.
The Tynesiders used their training ground during their two-game tour of Portugal last month, and boss Alan Pardew said: “I think it’s nice that we play Braga.
“They let us have their training ground for a week, and they have been a good connection to us in Portugal.
“So it’s nice to be able to repay them. I think they’ll enjoy the game, and it will be a good game as well because they are a good side.
“I’m looking forward to us putting in a display that he would be proud of. Hopefully, it will be an offensive display which was the hallmark of his teams.”
Meanwhile, Ameobi took his pre-season goal tally to four in Tuesday’s 1-1 Ibrox draw against Rangers.
After being put through by his brother Sammy, he lifted the ball over advancing goalkeeper Cammy Bell to grab a stoppage-time equaliser.
Reflecting on the game, Ameobi said: “Sammy’s put me in with a great pass. As soon as I saw the keeper running out, I knew what I wanted to do.
“It’s nice that I pulled it off. It was a tough game for us, and it was nice to come away with a result. We’ve worked hard all week, and there were a few tired legs out there. I came on, freshened it up and we were well worth the draw.”
The match was keenly-contested, and Ameobi feels Newcastle are in good shape ahead of the new season.
“We’re getting to the business end now,” he added. “We have to make sure come August 19 (their Premier League opener at Manchester City) that we’re at our sharpest. Things like this help. On the back of a really tough week, it was good for us to play a game like that.”