Newcastle striker confident of strong finish

The Northern Echo: On his way? Steven Taylor has not played a game since a red card at Manchester City on August 19 On his way? Steven Taylor has not played a game since a red card at Manchester City on August 19

SHOLA AMEOBI thinks Newcastle United are in for a productive season in the Premier League – provided they stay above Southampton.

The 1-1 draw between the two sides at St James’ Park on Saturday meant the Magpies sit sixth and four points above the team above them, Everton.

Southampton are three points further back but have impressed everyone this term with the way they have progressed under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

While the Saints have fallen out of the top four spot they had occupied earlier in the campaign, such has been their form it looks unlikely that there will be a fight against relegation at St Mary’s.

Southampton might have taken until the second half to get going on Tyneside, but Ameobi was still full of praise for the south coast club.

The 33-year-old, who missed a glaring header when the game was 1-0 in Newcastle’s favour, thinks Alan Pardew’s team will be nicely placed come May if they have finished ahead of Southampton.

“They will beat a lot of sides this season the way they play so we did well to come away a point against them,” said Pardew.

“We are focused on where we are and it would have been nice to get a few more ahead of them.

“They won't be too far outside the European places the way they are playing. So if we finish above them at least, it will have been a good season, probably.”

Newcastle head for Crystal Palace this Saturday knowing Tony Pulis has got the Eagles performing better since the departure of Ian Holloway.

A Palace win is likely to see them climb out of the bottom three, so Newcastle face a tough battle to claim the victory which will keep them on the coat-tails of the top five.

Newcastle have won five of their last seven Premier League fixtures, which has coincided with Mike Williamson’s recall at the heart of the defence.

Williamson will keep his place again at Selhurst Park, where Steven Taylor is unlikely to even find himself on the bench.

Taylor has been unable to force his way back in to the side since picking up a red card in the opening weekend defeat to Manchester City on August 19.

His lack of appearances has prompted interest from other clubs and Queens Park Rangers are understood to be considering a January loan move for the centre-back.

Newcastle continue to be linked with Wilfried Zaha. The former Palace winger moved to Manchester United during the summer but has been unable to force his way in David Moyes’ thinking.

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