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Krul will not be taking anything for granted
HE might have established himself as one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers in the Premier League in the first half of the season, but Newcastle United's Tim Krul insists he will not be resting on his laurels in 2012.
Since cementing his position as Alan Pardew's number one in pre-season, Krul has produced a string of impressive performances to help the Magpies claim a top-seven position at the turn of the year.
The Dutchman is already being talked of as a potential target for the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, but is adamant he will not be leaving St James' Park during the current transfer window.
And while 2011 could hardly have gone better for the 23-year-old, he is not about to start taking anything for granted.
"I'm playing now, week in, week out, and that's great," said Krul, who will be back between the sticks when Newcastle entertain Manchester United in their opening game of 2012 on Wednesday. "But I won't be resting on my laurels and the manager, quite rightly, will always be reminding me of that.
"I've got Harps (Steve Harper) and Rob Elliot fighting and keeping me on my toes, and they will continue to do that.
"Of course I'm more than pleased with the way things are going That's 19 games in a row now - I'm playing well and feeling on top of my game."
He will have to be at the top of his form in two days time, with Manchester United sure to be smarting from Saturday's shock home defeat to Blackburn.
Newcastle's last win over Sir Alex Ferguson's side came in September 2001, and with Wayne Rooney, a regular tormentor of the Magpies, set to return after missing out at the weekend, the hosts will start as long-priced outsiders.
Manchester United's fallibility was exposed on Saturday though, and having already claimed a draw at Old Trafford this season, Krul sees no reason why Newcastle cannot spring another surprise this week.
"Some people will look at it and say it's going to be hard, but we'll be looking forward to it," he said. "And to be honest, we always play well against them.
"Last year, we had a 0-0 game (at St James') and we just have to get back to those basics that served us so well.
"We can't beat ourselves up about Liverpool. We could have won that game - it was one of those crazy nights.
"We just have to step away from the game, take it on the chin and analyse it. We're back at home, we're at St James' Park and it will be a different story in front of our own crowd."
Gabriel Obertan will not be renewing rivalries with his former employers as he suffered a foot injury in the closing stages of Friday's defeat at Anfield.
Cheik Tiote and Demba Ba will be available, but the game could be the duo's last before they link up with their respective national side ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon does not start until January 21, but competing sides are permitted to assemble their squads in a training camp two weeks before the opening game.
Pardew is hoping that will enable both Tiote and Ba to play in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie with Blackburn.
However, Tiote has already hinted that he could be leaving the North-East in the wake of Wednesday's game.
"Maybe after the Man United game, I'll go," said the Ivory Coast midfielder. "We (Ivory Coast) have a training camp in Abu Dhabi, and I may have to go to that.
"It's hard for me. I want to play for my country, and I want to stay here and play for Newcastle. I just hope we do well while I'm away."
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