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2018 World Cup qualifiers
By ESPN Staff

Kinnear: Ameobi can relaunch his Magpies career

Newcastle United boss Joe Kinnear is confident Shola Ameobi can re-launch his career on Tyneside after seeing him play his part in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

The 27-year-old striker found himself playing as a lone frontman for much of the game following defender Habib Beye's controversial dismissal for a foul on Robinho.

Ameobi not only made life difficult for Richard Dunne and Tal Ben-Haim but also ended a two-year wait for a Premier League goal as the Magpies launched another spirited fightback.

His return to form was a personal triumph for interim manager Kinnear, who has taken him under his wing since arriving on Tyneside.

The 61-year-old said: "It's going to give him massive confidence. It's a long time since he has actually stuck one away.

"But I believe he has got all the ability to make himself a decent striker.

"He has got power, pace, strength. He has possibly not been punching his weight in the past, I don't know really.

"I can only go on what I see, and he has been exceptionally good for me in training.

"He has sent out all the right messages. He is a hungry fighter."

The Nigeria-born player fired home from close range with 44 minutes gone to cancel out Robinho's 14th-minute opener and drag Newcastle back into a game which seemed to have slipped from their grasp.

Beye was distraught to receive a red card for his challenge on the Brazilian, with television replays backing up his claim to have taken the ball first.

But referee Rob Styles, who later agreed to review his decision, was having none of it and the home side seemed doomed.

However, with the crowd responding to the perceived injustice, Kinnear's men got themselves back on terms and against all the odds took the lead with 64 minutes gone when Dunne sliced Geremi's corner into his own net.

It took an 86th-minute strike from Stephen Ireland to rescue a point for the visitors, and although he was disappointed not have have marked his first game since his return to the dug-out with a victory, Kinnear was immensely proud of his players ahead of Saturday's derby trip to Sunderland.

He said: "It is nice to go in having two games behind us undefeated. They are never easy, derbies.

"It is going to be another big question, another tight game, another tough match.

"But the dressing room is on fire at the moment. Everyone is delighted with one another, has the utmost respect for one another, everybody is working for one another.

"We have got a lot of things going for us at the moment, and who's to say we might not have two or three more players back in the frame for that match, which would make us that little bit stronger?"

Jonas Gutierrez is to have a scan on his fractured collarbone today and is rated at 50-50 for the weekend, while Michael Owen will have similar tests later in the week on his groin strain, although the initial prognosis of 10 days - he picked up the problem last Wednesday - remains the best estimate.


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