Harper ready to stand down
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle's Steve Harper has no qualms about stepping aside for Shay Given.
Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper has no qualms about stepping aside when first-choice Shay Given returns to fitness.
Harper, who captained The Magpies when Nicky Butt was withdrawn against Zulte Waregem on Thursday, looks set to make way against Wigan, despite keeping a clean sheet in the Uefa Cup win.
The 31-year-old has stood in ably for Given during a five-game spell but is preparing for his familiar role as substitute at The JJB Stadium on Sunday.
"I came off wearing the captain's armband and with a clean sheet, but it would not surprise me if Shay was back in goal on Sunday," said Harper.
Harper was pleased with his performance after making two saves late on to preserve his team's shut out.
"Years ago, my mentor John Burridge told me a clean sheet for a keeper was the equivalent to a striker scoring a hat-trick, and that's the way I have always looked at it," said Harper.
"But to be fair, I had a bit of a quiet night and a lot of the credit for that must go to Steven Taylor and Titus Bramble, who both got in some great tackles."