KEVIN Nolan admits the pressure is on him more than ever to hit the goal trail for Newcastle United.
Nolan has scored 10 Premier League goals from midfield this season.
And with manager Alan Pardew down to the bare bones up front after the sale of Andy Carroll and the loss of Shola Ameobi to injury in Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Fulham, more are needed from Newcastle’s captain.
Nolan found himself pegged back at Craven Cottage, but he’ll look to get forward at every opportunity over the coming weeks and months as United look to secure their top-flight status for another season.
“I want to nip in with goals here and there when I can,” Nolan said.
“I found it a bit difficult to get forward (against Fulham) – it was one of those games where you couldn’t really get there. We’ve just got to put this out of our systems, and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for Arsenal on Saturday.”
Arsenal might be one of the last teams beleaguered Newcastle would have wanted to face as they come to terms with the sale of Carroll, who scored the club’s winner at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season.
But at least Pardew will again have Cheik Tiote available, the influential midfielder having served a three-game suspension for his dismissal in the FA Cup defeat at Stevenage.
“Cheik’s been a massive player for us this season,” added Nolan. “He’d have relished the battle in there.
“It’s disappointing to have lost him for the three games. We’re looking forward to having him back, and hopefully we’ll get back to winning ways.”
Nolan, as skipper, has attempted to rally his team-mates this week.
And the 28-year-old added: “Every game’s going to be tough, like every game so far has, and we’ve got to rise to the occasion. I’m sure we will – it’s up to us now. We’ve got a very frail squad in there now, and it’s got to be looked after. ”
Nolan, meanwhile, has apologised to fans for comments praising Carroll’s move to Liverpool.
Reds fan Nolan was interviewed by Liverpool TV about his friend’s move to Anfield, saying he was “delighted” Carroll was joining a “fantastic club”.
“If fans don’t like it, I apologise,” he said. “It was never meant to affect them. But Liverpool is a great club and everyone knows that.
“There’s no one more disappointed than me. Not only have we lost a top player but I’ve lost a good mate who was very close.”