Shola wants last hurrah
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Shola Ameobi will head to America for surgery on his hip this weekend, but he is eager to help Newcastle overcome Arsenal first.
The gangly striker has been plagued by a hip problem for well over a year and will go under the knife on Tuesday.
Ameobi has revealed that the problem has become so severe that his career could be under threat if he does not have surgery immediately.
The operation is likely to bring an end to Ameobi's season and the forward is eager to sign off on a positive note by helping the struggling Magpies at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
"I want to play because I'm having the operation on Tuesday and I know it's my last game of the season," he told The Guardian.
"I've had the hip problem for about two years now. It's degenerated badly in the past few months and will become career threatening if I don't have the operation."
Ameobi has looked well off the pace in recent weeks, having led the line in the absence of Michael Owen, but he claims the decision to play has been his own.
"Nobody's forced me to play, I've wanted to but it's hampered certain areas of my game and I've been in a lot of pain at times," he added. "I've had quite a few injections to try to numb the pain but after some games I struggle to even walk for two days."
The pressure is on at St James' Park, with Newcastle in the relegation places, but Ameobi feels manager Glenn Roeder and chairman Freddy Shepherd are the right men in charge.
"The dressing room is behind Glenn, that's never been in doubt," stressed Ameobi. "We know what Glenn did for us last season, the belief he put into players and the way we feel about him has not changed.
"When you get bad results, people outside think the players have turned against the manager but that is not the case, we're fully behind Glenn.
"For me the criticism that has come the chairman's way is unfair. To me he's given his all and put everything he can into the club."
Ameobi may have to watch the remainder of the season from the sidelines, but he feels there is plenty left to play for.
"I don't think the season's over for Newcastle, there's two thirds of it left and we're still in all the cups. We were down and out by the halfway stage last year but still qualified for Europe."
Ameobi's stricken partner Owen has been handed a vote of confidence by the knee surgeon who has worked to save his career.
"I know he will be back at the top," Dr Richard Steadman told The Sun. "I told Michael if his career were to end, it would not be because of his knee problems."