Shola Ameobi gunning for big kick-off

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SHOLA Ameobi has four games left to stake his claim for a starting place against Arsenal.

And the striker’s determined to make the most of his time on the field in pre-season.

Ameobi is hoping to start against Orlando City tomorrow, having made his seasonal debut in Wednesday night’s goalless draw against Sporting Kansas City.

The 29-year-old replaced the injured Hatem Ben Arfa at Sporting Livestrong Park, but he and his team-mates found chances hard to come by in Kansas.

“No matter who it’s against, you want to do your best,” said long-serving Ameobi.

“I just want to start the season in the right shape, and I’m working hard on my fitness.

“When it comes to August and Arsenal, you want to be ready, and that’s what these games are here for. People say the results don’t really matter, but as a professional, when you cross the white line, you want to do your best.”

Ameobi’s played all over Europe with Newcastle, but never in the United States.

Manager Alan Pardew hit back at criticism of the club’s tour of the country, highlighting the facilities of their hosts.

Ameobi went on: “You can learn a lot out here. The manager has said that too, when you look at the quality of Kansas’s training ground and stadium. It was unbelievable.

“It’s one of the reasons we are out here. If you can see a better way of doing it that’s the idea. That’s why we are out here.

“You can take a lot of lessons with the way the Americans do things in terms of organisation and the technology side of it. It makes the difference.

“If it can make us stronger, then great. Whatever ideas they have that can make Newcastle United stronger, we need to know.

“The downsides are the jetlag and different time zones but we are coping quite well.”