VURNON Anita has warned the Premier League that Newcastle United are on the up – and determined not to let their form slide.
Alan Pardew’s side moved to seventh in the table after last weekend’s win over Manchester United.
Anita – recalled to the starting XI at Old Trafford – will keep his place for this afternoon’s home game against Southampton with fellow midfielder Yohan Cabaye suspended.
And the challenge for Newcastle – top of the league’s form table – is to build on a run of five wins in their last six outings.
Anita also wants to put another marker down, having made just six league starts for far this season.
“I always want to play,” Anita told SportMail. “And it was my chance again (at Old Trafford).
“I want to do my best for the team and myself. I think we did well and won, so that was the important.”
Anita added: “You never know what the manager will do, but if I’m asked to play, I’m ready.”
While United manager Pardew has been keen to dampen expectations on Tyneside in recent weeks, he has admitted there is an “opportunity” for his team this season given the fluctuating fortunes of teams in the upper reaches of the Premier League.
The key for Anita staying grounded ahead of a the demanding festive period.
If United can keep their feet on the ground, he doesn’t see why the team can’t challenge those sides above them for a European place.
“We stand very well in the table,” said the Holland international.
“But we must keep both feet on the ground and work hard every day, because it can change in a second.
“We must be very sharp every game to stay there. We have a good squad, and we want to be near the top of the table looking up. We’re in a great position.
“We’ve got a good spirit and the confidence to play good football.
“That shows on the pitch in the results. We must keep on going.”
Pardew praised 24-year-old Anita, signed from Ajax last year, for his contribution against Man United.
And he expects him to rack up the games this season.
“I would expect him to get 20, 25 appearances this year, and for a second year at a big club, that’s a good start,” said Pardew.