Ameobi handed lifeline

City boss Glenn Roeder's lingering hopes of taking Newcastle star Shola Ameobi on loan may have disappeared after the striker admitted that Kevin Keegan's return as manager had given him an unexpected lifeline at St James' Park.

City boss Glenn Roeder's lingering hopes of taking Newcastle star Shola Ameobi on loan may have disappeared after the striker admitted that Kevin Keegan's return as manager had given him an unexpected lifeline at St James' Park.

Roeder attempted to recruit former England Under-21 international Ameobi when he first took charge at Carrow Road, saying it would be a “major coup” for the club.

The 26-year-old, ditched for more than three months by former United boss Sam Allardyce, was given his first Premier League outing since September in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Bolton, Keegan's first game in charge.

Now Nigerian-born Ameobi sees a light at the end of the Tyne Tunnel.


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“A week's a long time in football,” he said. “Sam had his guys and, although I don't hold anything against him, it's unfortunate that I didn't feature in his plans. It was a hard pill to swallow for me having been here for so long and then being frozen out. Players have ups and downs and it has been a downer for me. But then in steps Kevin Keegan and I have a lifeline.

“I could have left the club because I've been out for almost two years,” he said, a reference to a long-standing hip complaint.

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“I need to be playing football and I feel as though Kevin's appointment has given me a lifeline. I have got a clean slate, it's a fresh start for us all. Kevin has said that to us and it's music to my ears.”

Middlesbrough tried to sign Ameobi last summer and Sunderland were also reported to be interested, while Roeder made no secret of his admiration for the player.

“I didn't ask to leave, but I've always said that there's no place for me where I'm not wanted,” said Ameobi.

“The manager knew that. We had conversations and he had his views just as I had mine. But he made the decisions and it has been a tough time.”

Keegan's return had revitalized the club, said Ameobi.

“Living in the city, you can't fail to notice what has happened. I've seen the impact it has had on friends and I've never experienced anything like it. We'll wait and see what happens. But I've never wanted to leave this club.”

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