Harper admits frustration
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper has indicated that he may have to consider his Magpies future if he is to realise his dream of playing regular football.
The 31-year-old has barely featured in The Premiership during his eight years at Newcastle, with the ever-reliable Shay Given almost always first choice.
Given has now committed the next five years of his future to the club, whereas Harper has just 12 more months on his existing deal.
"Really, it's just a case of waiting to see what happens," he said.
"I am 31 now and it is not getting any easier sitting on the bench week in, week out.
"What I do know is that I don't want another season like last season, which was one of my worst ever as I only managed to play one first-team game - and that was in Slovakia in the middle of July."
Harper's only involvement came in The Magpies' Intertoto campaign last term, with Given even playing on with a suspected broken thumb at one stage.
"Only Lazarus can come off with a suspected broken thumb and play two days later," he quipped.
"That time was probably the lowest I have experienced in the eight seasons I have had here since I got my first chance back in 1998-99."
Harper is still hopeful of making a mark this season, with Newcastle's success under Glenn Roeder ensuring another Intertoto Cup challenge and early start.
"The fact that we were fantastic under Glenn Roeder at the end of the season and have qualified for Europe means that I might get more opportunity," he said.
"The only thing I'm not looking forward to is when we are slogging it out in pre-season getting a text from Alan Shearer saying he is on some golf course in an exotic part of the world."