Shola looking to shine
Shola Ameobi has warned Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse he will not be satisfied with playing a supporting role to their double act.
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The 31-year-old got the nod alongside Ba for last Sunday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland, and although he was sacrificed before half-time following Cheick Tiote's sending-off, he has no intention of surrendering his place as West Brom head for St James' Park on Sunday.
The Senegal internationals played key roles in last season's superb surge up the Barclays Premier League table, Ba scoring 15 of his 16 goals during the first half of the season and Cisse contributing 13 following his arrival from Freiburg in January.
As a result, Ameobi found himself largely providing the back-up, but with manager Alan Pardew insisting there is nothing to choose between the trio, he is hoping for an extended run in the team.
He said: "I am a guy who feeds off the manager. If I know he's got confidence in me, that's when I produce my best game.
"It's important as a player that you know your manager has got faith in you, and even when I am not playing, he makes me feel a part of what he is doing here, and that's very important to me.
"It was a slow start at the start of the season, being injured, so I feel I am making up for lost time and raring to go.
"I feel very, very good, my game is there and I'm just itching to play more football, and if I get the nod, I have to show what I can do because we have got two other great strikers at this club who have kept me out of the team.
"I have to make sure if I get my chance, that I take it."
Ba has already scored six times this season with Cisse currently on two, although he might have added to his tally during Thursday night's 1-0 Europa League victory over Club Brugge in which he was twice denied by keeper Bojan Jorgacevic.
Ameobi has only one goal to his name so far, the opener in a 3-0 win against Bordeaux earlier this month, but is confident there are more to come.
He said: "Obviously last season, I didn't get too many, so it's something I am looking to rectify this season.
"As a striker, goals breed confidence and if I can get as many early on as I can, I know my confidence will grow and that can only help the team."
The Baggies will arrive on Tyneside hoping to repeat their 3-2 victory their last season, although they will do so to meet a side still to hit top form in the league and desperate to make up for a 3-0 home defeat by Manchester United.
Ameobi said: "They took points from us last season, so we are very aware of that. They have got some talented players and they have started off fantastically well this year, so it's a tough game for us.
"But we are at home and we know that this place has to be a fortress for us, has to be a place where we pick up points if we are going to do what we did last year.
"This place was somewhere that teams found it hard to pick up points, so we have to make it that way, starting on Sunday.
"Obviously our last home game wasn't the best, so there's a statement that has to be made there by us to show the fans that we are really back on track."
Albion boss Steve Clarke was, of course, number two to Ruud Gullit during his brief spell as Newcastle manager, and Ameobi is one of the few men still on the books who remembers the Scot.
He said: "I remember him very well from when I was in the youth team, I think it was. I have spoken to him a few times over the years and he has been fantastic.
"He has always been a great coach and he has stepped into that role and taken to it like a duck to water.
"It's a great start for him and I really like to see guys who have been in this area doing well, so I am really pleased for him and I wish him all the best."