DANNY Guthrie feels his season is still to get started at Newcastle United, writes Miles Starforth.
And the midfielder – who has been badly hit by injury – will be going all-out in the last two months of the campaign to belatedly play his part for the club.
Guthrie captained Newcastle’s reserves to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Arsenal at St James’s Park last night.
The 23-year-old was topping up his fitness after a brief spell on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.
With manager Alan Pardew having injuries and tired legs to contend with, Guthrie feels he can come into his own in the remaining nine games, as United attempt to cement a place in the Premier League’s top 10.
Guthrie was an influential player in last season’s Championship-winning campaign, but he’s been playing catch-up since missing the first three months of the season with a knee injury suffered in early August.
“It’s been a frustrating season for me with injuries,” Guthrie said.
“I missed the start of the season with a bad injury and the lads who have played have done really well.
“It’s always difficult when you’re not playing because of little niggly injuries. When you come in, it’s hard to get going again.
“I had a slight hamstring strain which kept me out of the Bolton game and I didn’t train until later in the week.
“I needed a bit of work, and (last night) was perfect.
“We’ve got a few injuries and suspensions. It’s that time of year when legs are getting tired for the lads who have been playing.
“It was frustrating, as there were a couple of games I could have started and got back into the swing of things.
“Injuries are part of the game and you just have to get on with it. Hopefully, I can get a few games under my belt between now and the end of the season.”
Striker Phil Airey claimed the points for Peter Beardsley’s side with an injury-time header against Arsenal, a deflected goal from Jose Rees having cancelled out Greg McDermott’s first-half opener.
As well as Guthrie, Beardsley also fielded first-teamers Tim Krul and Shefki Kuqi.
And Guthrie – who played 73 minutes of the game – was proud to be handed the captain’s armband.
The former Liverpool player went on: “Winning’s a good habit to get into and it was a great experience for some of the younger lads.
“There were a couple of 16-year-olds playing. It’s brilliant, especially playing against a quality team like Arsenal. They play the same system all the way through their club. It’s a great education for them.
“It’s always nice to wear the captain’s armband – you have to do things the right way for some of the young lads.”
“We’ve all been there as young lads trying to impress and it’s always nice to have some of the first-team lads there too.”