VURNON Anita’s determined to make Alan Pardew’s job even harder at Newcastle United – by giving him a selection headache.
Anita has featured prominently for the club so far this season.
And the midfielder – who hopes to keep his place for Sunday’s home game against Manchester City – is looking to build on his form in the first half of the campaign.
United manager Pardew’s first-choice central midfielders are Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote.
However, versatile Anita has more often than not been accommodated in Pardew’s Premier League starting XI this term, and he has also started all of the club’s three cup ties.
For his part, Anita is just focused on keeping his place in the team.
“I must do my best,” Anita told the Gazette. “Then it’s up to the coach whether I play or not.”
Anita joined Newcastle from Ajax in the summer of 2012, and the technically-gifted player played his part in the club’s run of seven wins from nine league games late last year.
United are eighth in the table ahead of the visit of second-placed City, who are a point behind league leaders Arsenal.
And the 24-year-old, having adjusted to the pace and power of English football, is enjoying the extra responsibilty that has come his way this season.
“At the moment I’m playing and enjoying it,” said the Holland international. “We are near the top of the table, so I’m enjoying it.
“We must keep working hard, and try to win every game.”
The City game will be refereed by Chester-based official Mike Jones.
Pardew, meanwhile, expects Cabaye to return to training on Friday.
The midfielder missed last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Cardiff City with an Achilles injury.
* Newcastle United have been drawn at home against Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Under-21 Premier League Cup.
The club beat Leicester City 2-1 at Whitley Park last week to book a place in the last eight of the competition. The tie will be played on the week starting January 27.