Sunday 17 December 2017

Gouffran determined to prove worth

Yoan Gouffran, right, scored in Newcastle's victory over Leeds
Yoan Gouffran, right, scored in Newcastle's victory over Leeds

Yoan Gouffran has vowed not to let Newcastle manager Alan Pardew forget about him after serving him with a reminder of his potency.

The 27-year-old Frenchman blasted home a superb 67th-minute strike to seal a 2-0 Capital One Cup third round victory over Leeds at St James' Park on Wednesday night as the Magpies booked themselves a last-16 clash with Manchester City.

Gouffran has had to take something of a back seat in recent weeks with loan signing Loic Remy having taking his place in Pardew's starting line-up.

But the former Bordeaux frontman's winner from the bench at Aston Villa on September 14 and his League Cup contribution have come at the right time for him.

Gouffran said: "That's why I'm here - I came to play.

"Last season I started every match. This season, it's been a bit more difficult, but I'm not giving up. I will go out and give 100 per cent so I can play the next game."

However, the January arrival is not the only man trying to catch Pardew's eye, and Wednesday evening's events further promoted the cause of midfielder Sammy Ameobi. He and fellow academy graduate Paul Dummett formed a promising partnership down the left.

It was they who combined with 31 minutes gone to set up striker Papiss Cisse for his first goal in 11 games, a powerful header which gave goalkeeper Paddy Kenny no chance.

Ameobi's cross was tailor-made for the Senegal international, and he later revealed he had been putting in extra work on the training ground with coach Steve Stone to hone his art.

The 21-year-old said: "After training every day, Steve Stone has been keeping me back and making me do extra work, and I think it has paid off.

"I'm happy he did and I'm going to continue to work on that."

Ameobi later turned provider for Gouffran, rolling the ball into his feet to allow him to turn defender Scott Wootton and dispatch an unstoppable drive past Kenny.

The pair, as well as left-back Dummett, are likely to return to the bench for Monday evening's Barclays Premier League trip to Everton, but Ameobi in particular is determined to push the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Remy all the way as he attempts to make the breakthrough.

He said: "I think I'm knocking at the door. There are great players ahead of me so it is going to be tough to get into the team.

"But I am willing to be patient until he [Pardew] gives me my opportunity, and when he does, I'll take it."

In the meantime, the Magpies could be forgiven for allowing themselves to dream of Capital One Cup success and a possible end to the club's wait for domestic silverware, which stretches back to 1955.

However, their hopes of addressing that situation were done few favours by the fourth round draw, which pitched them into battle with big-spending Manchester City, although they at least came out of the hat first.

Pardew, who saw his side trounced 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium of the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, said: "It's a tough game.

"They showed against us and against Manchester United that when they turn the heat up, they are difficult to live with.

"When they are at home and it's all going well, they look like a really good side, but we have got to cause them problems and our fans can make a difference.

"Hopefully we will give them a tough night when it comes up."

For Gouffran, whose first few months in English football were spent fighting a desperate battle for top-flight survival, the competition represents an opportunity to secure glory, and he is relishing the prospect of an extended run.

He said: "In France, the League Cup isn't well thought of by fans or the teams or the players. Often a reserve team is put out in these competitions.

"Here though, with the way the league is, we want to get out there and try to win some silverware.

"That's what we will do. We want to get as far as we can."

Press Association

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