Harper up for Given battle

Gutted keeper ready to fight for place

Harper: Gutted

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Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper has vowed to bounce back from the disappointment of losing his starting spot to Shay Given.

Harper started the season between the sticks after Given was forced to sit on the sidelines because of injury.

The 32-year-old impressed during his run in the side before Given was restored to the starting line-up for last weekend's defeat at Manchester City.

Harper admits he was 'gutted' to miss out against City, but he is determined to fight Given all the way for the goalkeeping jersey at St James' Park.

Disappointed

"The battle goes on," Harper told the Evening Chronicle. "It goes without saying that I was desperately disappointed to be left on the bench on Saturday but, I must say, what made it easier for me was that I lost my place to a top-class goalkeeper.

"But I'm not one to spit out my dummy and all I can do is keep working hard and try and get back into the team.

"We flew down to Manchester early on Friday morning and had a work-out at the Manchester United training ground, and it was then that the manager told me I wasn't playing.

"Obviously I was gutted but I'm a professional and I have always stood by the manager's decision in all my time here, no matter who it has been."

Meanwhile, Abdoulaye Faye has vowed to fight his way into Sam Allardyce's plans after failing to establish himself since arriving at the club.

Faye, who joined The Magpies on transfer deadline day, has made just one start in the Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal and he is determined to battle for his place in the starting XI.

"The manager was a big reason why I came to Newcastle," Faye told the Evening Chronicle.

"I enjoyed my time playing under him at Bolton and I am looking forward to my future here.

"I know that just because he is my old manager I am not certain to play so I have to battle for my place here."