Kevin Nolan: “It’s the first time I have had the match ball in my professional career,”
“The last time I scored a hat-trick was in a school final when I was 15. I didn’t get the match ball then but I’ve still got the shirt.
“I’ve scored a few braces in my time, but when the third one went in it was like, ‘it’s happened!’.
“I’ve got the ball for my daughter Jasmine. She always says before I leave the house, ‘go get a big goal daddy.’ I am absolutely delighted.
“The last couple of seasons I have been struggling with injuries, ankle problems and rib problems.
“But since I have got to Newcastle they have looked after me and that’s been a big plus, the physio department have been tremendous.
“I had an ankle operation just before I signed for the club and that had an effect on my form when I came. The big plus for me is the last six months has been the first time I have trained every day for a long time. It was the first proper pre-season I’ve had behind me for years.
“It has been really good. I have really enjoyed training every day and that is why I am starting to produce on the pitch. The most important thing is to keep winning games and get this great football club back to where it belongs.
“I’ve got to be honest, since I arrived, I have enjoyed every minute. Don’t get me wrong, the last day of the season was the worst time of my life. But the next day, I went for a pint with my dad and it was like ‘I can’t wait to get back’.
“We got together as a squad of lads, and as a staff and came together as one. We said where we want to be, what we want to do, and we’ve managed to do that so far.
“It is only a start. We are only nine games in. There is a long, long, way to go, but it is the start we wanted and hopefully we can continue it because the games come thick and fast in this division.
“It was important we got off to a good start. All the teams which have gone down have done well. We had a blip against Blackpool but we bounced back. We have two games at home next and we have to get maximum points.”