Ameobi sends message to Pardew
Shola Ameobi provided Newcastle boss Alan Pardew with a timely nudge as he braced himself for a fresh battle to hold on to Demba Ba.
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The Senegal striker's future is once again the subject of intense speculation with a series of clubs reportedly ready to activate the release clause in his contract when the transfer window opens next month.
Pardew is in the process of identifying potential targets of his own in several positions, and has confirmed that Marseille frontman Loic Remy is among them.
Whether or not a striker will remain a priority should Ba stay, as his manager would dearly love him to do, remains to be seen, but in the circumstances, Ameobi's match-winning intervention against QPR on Saturday could hardly have come at a more opportune moment.
The 31-year-old said: "It's been frustrating, sitting on the bench every week and watching the lads out there doing their best to try to win.
"As a player, you want to be involved and help in any way you can. At the moment, that's me coming off the bench and I just have to do what I can.
"Hopefully, I can make an impact like I did on Saturday. I'm just really delighted that we sent everyone home happy for Christmas."
Ameobi's contribution was the only goal in a contest the Magpies dominated without ever making the pressure tell until the closing stages.
Papiss Cisse's 61st-minute removal, rather than the Nigeria international's introduction, was greeted by boos at St James' Park, but the jeers turned to cheers 20 minutes later when he ran on to fellow substitute Sylvain Marveaux's pass and stepped inside before shooting left footed across keeper Rob Green and into the bottom corner.
Any win is greeted by raucous celebrations at St James', but the fact that this was just the club's second in eight Barclays Premier League outings made for even more joyous scenes in the stands.
Ameobi said: "Sylvain, who has got great vision, spotted me and I managed to cut in and hit the side-netting, so it was nice.
"I haven't scored too many goals this year so far, so it's great to get on the scoresheet and because it was so valuable, it obviously means so much more. I'm really delighted with the finish.
"Obviously, we have been through quite a period of not winning many games, so this game was massive.
"With the two sides being so close together at the bottom of the table, it was a must-win game.
"There was a huge sigh of relief and we are delighted that we could get all three points."
For all that Newcastle were in control for much of the game, Green was largely untroubled until Ameobi struck with the invention of injured duo Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa painfully conspicuous by its absence.
However, a rare clean sheet provided the basis for a narrow, but precious win, and Ameobi is hoping that will finally kick-start a season which has rather limped towards the halfway point.
He said: "Something we felt as a side has been very frustrating is the fact that we haven't really looked like keeping clean sheets, we haven't looked solid, and that was the basis of our success last season.
"But you can't underestimate how much a win does for confidence in this game, and that's hopefully going to give us a lot of confidence going into the Christmas games."
The Magpies head to leaders Manchester United on Boxing Day having not won a league game at Old Trafford since 1972, and they will do so without midfielder Cheick Tiote, who collected his fifth booking of the campaign on Saturday.
Ameobi said with a smile: "Hopefully they will eat a lot more than we do and we can nick a result down there."
But while Pardew, Ameobi and the rest of the Newcastle squad contemplated Christmas lunch, Rangers boss Harry Redknapp left the north east bemoaning his lot and having launched an astonishing attack on some of the overpaid and under-performing, in his opinion, players he inherited from Mark Hughes.
Injuries limited his option on Tyneside, particularly in attack where Djibril Cisse and Adel Taarabt were peripheral figures.
Redknapp said: "They could bring Ameobi on, they have got options up front and we have not got options. We have got two strikers who have not played for months.
"If we had Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora available, we would be a much better team, but they are not available. We are short in various areas."