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Mar 13, 2013

Ameobi calls for Chelsea spirit

Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi has invoked the spirit of Chelsea's Champions League triumph as the Tyneside club look to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

• Blog: Starved of success but forever loyal

Newcastle host Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Thursday after the clubs walked away from Russia on an even keel after playing out a 0-0 draw.

The Europa League offers Newcastle its last chance of silverware this season, but their form has been less than impressive, with their domestic challenges for glory long since fading from view.

But Ameobi believes he and his team-mates need only look to Chelsea's run to their European crown for inspiration.

"As we have seen in Europe in the last few seasons, especially with Chelsea last year, if you put yourself in the mix towards the end of a tournament anything can happen, so I'm very excited," Ameobi told The Sun.

"We desperately want to make the quarter-finals and keep progressing.

"We came away from Anzhi with a decent result and something we can take home to St James' Park in the second leg and build on.

"We are very determined to put our best foot forward and get through against Anzhi."

The match against the heavily invested Russian side could also mark an impressive milestone for Ameobi, the 31-year-old on line make his 50th European appearance for the club.

If he does take the field at St James' Park, he will overtake club legend Alan Shearer and move him within 12 European appearances of club record holder Shay Given.

"It's remarkable really because I didn't know I have now played 49 games in Europe. I was shocked," he said. "I'm a lucky boy. Every time I have put on the Newcastle shirt I have added myself to the history of the club and that means so much to me. "I'm flying the flag for Newcastle and that is so important to me. Now I just want to get us into the last eight, where anything is possible."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has urged the home crowd to become the 12th man against Anzhi on Thursday and Ameobi is confident the Newcastle faithful will heed the call.

"I've enjoyed some memorable games in Europe with the club and I hope we have another one on Thursday," he said. "At home we have to get back to where we were last year and make St James' Park a fortress.

"We have done that pretty well in Europe this season and with a big crowd behind us I know we can get through."

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