Newcastle star to lead from front at Blackpool

TOP DOGS? ... Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan is hoping his team can finish above rivals Sunderland.
TOP DOGS? ... Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan is hoping his team can finish above rivals Sunderland.

KEVIN Nolan returns for Newcastle United at Bloomfield Road determined to lead from the front in the club’s bid for a top 10 finish.

Influential Nolan sat out Newcastle’s last two games through suspension.

And United’s captain – who took his Premier League goal tally to a career-best 12 in his last match – is ready to take out that frustration Blackpool tomorrow.

Ninth-placed Newcastle moved to 40 points on Tuesday night after their goalless draw against Manchester United, and the finishing line is in sight.

Nolan is keen for the club to finish strongly, and build a platform for next season, when the midfielder hopes Newcastle can make further progress on and off the pitch with the help of some summer signings.

“It’s nice being in the top 10, and if we can maintain that between now and the end of the season, that’ll be a fantastic return for us,” Nolan said.

“Then it’s about being ambitious and maintaining that spot. Hopefully, we can start breaking back into Europe in the next few years.”

“Hopefully, we can start building at this club, and once we’ve secured our Premier League status, we can try start to climb as high up the table as we can.

“Next year, we’ll hopefully get some signings in the summer and go on from there. That’s the main thing we need to be doing.”

Nolan’s 17 goals from midfield were key to the club’s Championship-winning campaign.

And the 28-year-old started where he left off in English football’s second tier, and his strike against Wolverhampton Wanderers saw him pass his previous Premier League best with Bolton Wanderers.

“Twelve in the league’s a career-best,” added Nolan. “I once scored 13, but only 11 were in the league.

“It’s about me making sure I work hard for the next few games, and doubly hard in the summer to make sure I get 12 at least next year.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Danny Guthrie – who deputised for Nolan in United’s last two games – has been ruled out of the Blackpool game with a shin injury which could sideline him for the rest of the season.