Sammy Ameobi ready to challenge at Newcastle United after benefit of Middlesbrough loan

Saint Mirren's David van Zanten and Newcastle United's Sammy Ameobi ''Newcastle United's Mathew Debuchy (left) celebrates his goal with team mates Hatem Ben Arfa (centre) and Papiss Cisse (right) during a pre-season friendly at St Mirren Park, Paisley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 30, 2013. See PA story: SOCCER St Mirren.  Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Saint Mirren's David van Zanten and Newcastle United's Sammy Ameobi ''Newcastle United's Mathew Debuchy (left) celebrates his goal with team mates Hatem Ben Arfa (centre) and Papiss Cisse (right) during a pre-season friendly at St Mirren Park, Paisley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 30, 2013. See PA story: SOCCER St Mirren. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

SAMMY Ameobi is ready to challenge for a Premier League place at Newcastle – after coming of age at Middlesbrough.

The forward (pictured above) has won praise from United manager Alan Pardew in pre-season.

And Ameobi’s hoping to feature against Rangers at Ibrox tonight.

Ameobi again caught the eye in last week’s 2-0 win over St Mirren.

After the game, Pardew said Ameobi and defender Paul Dummett had “come out of the pack” in the club’s warm-up games.

The challenge is for Ameobi to maintain his form in Newcastle’s last two friendlies as Pardew assesses his options for the club’s opener at Manchester City on August 19.

Ameobi spent the latter part of last season on loan at Middlesbrough, and that experience has helped him raise his game.

“It’s nice to hear that,” Ameobi told SportMail.

“He’s always believed in my ability, but it was my application that he wasn’t sure about.

“Going to Middlesbrough on loan last season, and learning what it’s like to be a big part of a team, really helped me.

“It’s helped by my work ethic. That’s helped me this pre-season.

“Hopefully, I’ll continue doing that. I want to do it on the Premier League stage.”

Ameobi feels he’s getting stronger by the game, having played 90 minutes at St Mirren Park.

“It was great to get another win, and also for me to get 90 minutes,” said Ameobi.

“It wasn’t easy, and you could see I drifted off a bit in the last 10 minutes. That’s something I’m working on. The coaching staff and gaffer are drilling it into me.

“It was good to get that under my belt. All the boys were encouraging me. The football we played was unbelievable.”