Harper desperate to keep jersey
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Steve Harper is willing to play through the pain barrier to stay between Newcastle's sticks.
Newcastle United keeper Steve Harper is willing to play through the pain barrier to retain the club's number one jersey.
Harper has been handed a chance under Glenn Roeder after first-choice Shay Given was injured in their win at West Ham.
The 31-year-old has been waiting in the Magpies' wings for some time and has no thoughts of missing out now, despite carrying a groin injury.
It had been thought Harper might step aside to let Pavel Srnicek feature against Middlesbrough on Sunday, but he is not looking to sit out the Tyne-Tees derby.
"I have waited five years for my chance and I am not giving it all up without a fight," said Harper.
"You will have to knock me out to stop me playing at Middlesbrough on Sunday.
"Don't forget, I have learned from old Lazarus himself, Shay Given, about coming back from the dead and taking his place in the Newcastle goal.
"I hurt my groin at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago and I have not trained since last weekend.
"It has been niggling away and I wanted to train before the match. But I was instructed not to by the medical team, who said I would struggle to play two games in three days.
"But I was adamant I was okay to play and I kept badgering enough people and in the end, managed to get the shout."