Karl Darlow’s determined to emulate Rob Elliot’s heroics in goal – and help keep Newcastle United in the Premier League.
Darlow will be between the posts for the rest of the campaign after Rob Elliot suffered a season-ending injury.
The goalkeeper made only his second top-flight appearance for the relegation-threatened club in Saturday’s devastating 3-2 defeat to Norwich City.
And Darlow was not at fault at Carrow Road as Newcastle took another lurch towards the Championship, a division the 24-year-old knows well from his time at Nottingham Forest.
“I’ve got seven games now to show what I can do and put in some good performances,” said Darlow, who is preparing for Saturday’s game at Southampton.
“I know I can prepare properly now for the rest of the season in the knowledge that I’ll be playing.
“It’s nice to be in that position, although it’s obviously terrible circumstances with Rob getting injured, having done so well all season.
“Anyone taking over from him, it was going to be tough, but I’m going to have to do well.”
Darlow, signed from Forest two years ago but loaned back to the City Ground club for a season, admitted to pre-match nerves at Carrow Road, but the Northampton-born player settled into the game after making a couple of early saves.
United twice came from behind against Norwich thanks to two goals from substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic.
But Martin Olsson’s injury-time winner left Newcastle six points adrift of Premier League safety ahead of the club’s visit to St Mary’s.
“I was a little bit nervous before, but as soon as I got out there I was fine. I made a couple of saves and felt OK,” he said.
“I was beaten by two very good goals. I haven’t seen them back, but then I didn’t really see the second one (scored by Dieumerci Mbokani) in the first place either.
“The third one has ended up in the far corner right at the end.
“It’s cruel, but that’s football isn’t it? The final goal went through someone’s legs, and it was right inside the post.”
Darlow, toughened up by more than 100 appearances in the Championship, is adamant that he’s got the “character” – and experience – needed at St James’s Park.
“I’ve got the character for this,” said Darlow. “People seem to forget that I’ve played a fair amount of Championship games.
“Since I’ve joined the club, it’s kind of been overlooked that I’ve played over 100 games.
“It’s one of those situations where I know what to do, I just need to get into a run of games and hopefully prove myself.”