Harper Getting His Reward

Last updated : 25 January 2007 By Footy Mad - Editor

The longest serving player on Newcastle's books, the Easington born stopper will replace Given who suffered a groin injury against West Ham at the weekend.

An injury to Given earlier in the campaign (also against West Ham) saw Harper make a 12-game first team run. The most since 1999 when he spent half a season as number one.

Harper: "Before this season I had waited a long, long time and then Shay got hurt at West Ham and after a couple of games to get up to speed the last 10 games went reasonably well.

"I didn't think another opportunity was going to come around quite so quickly, but I'm looking forward to it.

"It's hard getting in for the odd game here and there and it is better when you can get a run in the team. You feel part of the team again.

"We've had five keepers used in the squad this year. It is hard, but everyone one of us works hard day in, day out waiting for an opportunity."