Anita pledges to push harder for Newcastle United starts

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VURNON Anita is determined to make manager Alan Pardew’s job even harder at Newcastle United – by giving him a selection headache.

Anita has featured prominently for the Magpies so far this season.

And the midfielder – who hopes to keep his place for Saturday’s home Premier League match against Manchester City – is looking to build on his form in the first half of the campaign.

Pardew’s first-choice central midfielders are Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote, however the versatile Anita has more often than not been accommodated in Newcastle’s Premier League starting XI this term, and he has also started all of their three cup ties.

For his part, Anita is just focused on keeping his place in the team.

“I must do my best,” Anita said. “Then it’s up to the coach whether I play or not.”

Anita joined Newcastle from Ajax in the summer of 2012, and he played his part in the Tynesiders’ run of seven wins from nine league games late last year.

United are eighth in the table ahead of the visit of second-placed City, who are a point behind league leaders Arsenal.

And 24-year-old Anita, having adjusted to the pace and power of English football, is enjoying the extra responsibilty that has come his way this season.

“At the moment, I’m playing and enjoying it,” said the Holland international. “We are near the top of the table, so I’m enjoying it. We must keep working hard, and try to win every game.”

The City game will be refereed by Chester-based official Mike Jones. Pardew, meanwhile, expects Cabaye to return to training tomorrow. The midfielder missed last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Cardiff with an Achilles injury.

H Newcastle have been drawn at home against Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Under-21 Premier League Cup, with the tie to be played in the week starting January 27.