Shola touched by fans' ovation

Striker says ovation makes up for the tough times he has endured

Ameobi: Touched

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Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi has thanked the Toon Army after they gave him a standing ovation during Monday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

The 6ft 4in frontman netted his first goal since October 2006 in the game after starting as a lone striker.

The supporters then showed their appreciation when the player - who was making only his fifth league start in two seasons - was replaced late on.

Ameobi says the reception has made up for all the tough times he has endured over the last two years.

He has suffered from a lack of fitness and loss of form since battling back from a career-threatening hip injury towards the end of the 2006/07 campaign.

Ameobi told the club's official website: "When you get that sort of reception it makes up for all those tough times that I've endured with all the injuries and time out.

"It just means so much when you are playing in front of your home fans.

Hard work

"It makes all that hard work worthwhile.

"It's been a long two years and it's been a tough time but hopefully now I'm back playing and will continue to grow in confidence."

Ameobi's scored on the stroke of half-time and needed some luck after the ball took four ricochets inside the City penalty area.

"It was like a pinball machine," he admitted. "But fortunately for me you need that luck as a striker.

"Today it went for me and thankfully I was able to get it into the net somehow and that gave us all a lift.

"We came out after half-time and said we can win this game.

Luck

"We got another piece of luck with the second goal and we thought we were going to win it.

"But they have got top players who can hurt you and that's what they did."

Meanwhile Joey Barton has been named in the Newcastle United reserve side to play Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening.

The midfielder is now eligible to play after serving a six-game suspension imposed by the Football Association for his training ground assault on ex-Eastlands team-mate Ousmane Dabo in May of last year.

He is working his way back to match fitness ahead of Saturday's crucial game with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, which is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 at 12.45pm.