NEWCASTLE United’s brothers in arms can give the beleaguered club a welcome leg up.
That’s the verdict of Sammy Ameobi ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League game against Maritimo at St James’s Park.
The match follows back-to-back home defeats in the Premier League, with Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Swansea City following a home reverse to West Ham United.
And the pressure is on Newcastle to record a morale-boosting win over the Madeiran minnows.
Ameobi and his elder sibling Shola started Newcastle’s last European game, the 2-2 draw against Club Brugge.
The pair combined for United’s equaliser at the Jan Breydel Stadium.
And Sammy’s hopeful they’ll both be fielded against Maritimo, who are bottom of Group D with two games left to play.
Group leaders Newcastle need a win to guarantee their place in the competition’s Round of 32, though a point could be enough for Pardew’s side if Brugge fail to beat Bordeaux in Belgium.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a lot more starts alongside him,” Ameobi told the Gazette.
“We know each other very well on and off the pitch.
“It’s good not just for us, but the team. There are good combinations between us. Hopefully, we can continue to do that and progress with the team.”
A tight hamstring denied Sammy the opportunity to add to his two England Under-21 caps last week.
He had been recalled by coach Stuart Pearce after recovering from the injury which sidelined him earlier in the season and impressing for United.
However, the 20-year-old recovered in time to start against Swansea, and his brother came off the bench for the second-half.
Ambitious Ameobi is determined to make an impression at international level over the coming years, and he has Shola’s Under-21 record in his sights.
The 31-year-old – who made his senior international debut for Nigeria, the country of his birth, last week – is England’s joint-eighth highest scorer at Under-21 level along with Jermain Defoe and Mark Robins.
Newcastle’s all-time leading scorer Alan Shearer is joint top with 13 goals.
“This is just the beginning for me – I’m looking to progress,” added Ameobi. “I’m glad I’ve got back into the Under-21 squad. It’s massive for me. Obviously, I want to represent my country.
“I want to keep building, and long-term I want to get myself into the first-team squad, not just with Newcastle, but with England. That’s the dream, really.”
Shola was tipped to progress to the senior side during his Under-21 career, but the call never came and he decided to represent the Super Eagles.
He came off the bench in Nigeria’s 3-1 win over Venezuela in Miami last week.
Sammy – who was born in Newcastle – is determined to make a name for himself with England.
On his brother’s England record, Sammy added: “He played quite a few games, and scored a few goals, so hopefully I can top that.”
The Ameobi’s made history in Belgium last week when they started together against Brugge.
They became only the third brothers to start a competitive game for the club after the Robledos and Applebys.