Let’s win it for Sir Bobby, says Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi

EUROPA WISH ... Newcastle's Shola Ameobi.
EUROPA WISH ... Newcastle's Shola Ameobi.

SHOLA Ameobi’s determined that Newcastle United honour Sir Bobby Robson’s memory – by qualifying for the last 16 of the Europa League.

Newcastle take on Metalist Kharkiv in the Ukraine on Thursday night.

The first-leg of the Round of 32 tie ended goalless at St James’s Park last week.

And Alan Pardew’s players were yesterday preparing for the game on what would have been the late Sir Bobby’s 80th birthday.

Ameobi – who is second behind Alan Shearer in United’s all-time European goalscorers list with 14 strikes – is one of the survivors from Robson’s memorable time in charge of his beloved United, which saw the club compete in the Champions League.

The striker says Sir Bobby – who handed him his debut as a teenager – would have relished the task which faces Newcastle in Kharkiv.

Asked if the spirit of Robson lives on at the club, Ameobi said: “Yes, definitely.

“Listen, I take him everywhere with me. He’s what made me who I am today.

“He encapsulates everything football means to me.

“His enthusiasm for the game was imparted on me, and he’d have loved that, going over there and proving a point. Hopefully, we can do that as a team.”

United face a daunting task at the 40,000-capacity Metalist Stadium.

But Ameobi’s adamant that Pardew’s players aren’t fazed by the challenge of winning on Ukrainian soil.

“I don’t think there’s fear in that dressing room – we’ve got enough international players in our side,” Ameobi said.

“I’m sure they’ve all played in hostile territory before. It’s not something that we’ll fear.

“I’ll enjoy it, personally. We’ll try to prove a point.

“It’ll probably be a bit colder, so there’s that to deal with as well.

“We’re excited. We’re not behind in the tie, which is good.

“They haven’t scored an away goal. That could prove decisive for us.

“Personally, this is a big tournament. It’s a European competition, and we want to get as far as we can.

“The manager takes this seriously, and so do we as players.”

Ameobi came off the bench in the first-leg – which saw two Papiss Demba Cisse goals disallowed for offside – and he left the field frustrated that Newcastle wouldn’t be taking a goal advantage to Kharkiv.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game – they have a lot of technical players – but we had a few chances to maybe put the tie away,” said the 31-year-old.

“That’s the frustration we’re feeling.

“We scored two legitimate goals, and you can’t legislate for that.

“At this level, you need to have a bit of luck.

“We had a hatful of chances as well. On another day, we could have been 3-0 up, and the tie effectively over.

“As it is, we have to go over there and play a very good side on their own patch. It’s not going to be easy.

“There are a lot of positives, especially in that second half. We really took the game to them.

“It opened up a bit for us, and we hit them on the counter attack, which we’ll probably have to do out there.

“The clean sheet’s always a nice one to have. We have to go over there, and be on the top of our game to win this tie.

“I imagine it’ll be quite a hostile atmosphere over there. It’s going to be a really difficult game for us.

“You could see they’re a really good footballing side – they could open us up. We have to make sure we’re tight first and foremost, and get an away goal.”