Nolan rejects relegation fears

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Kevin Nolan is not even thinking about relegation as he prepares to make his Newcastle debut against arch rivals Sunderland on Sunday.

Victory for the Black Cats would give them a first league double over the Magpies since the 1966-67 season but, perhaps more significantly, would edge the Tyneside club ever closer to the Barclays Premier League trap door. However, Nolan insists he did not even consider the possibility of having to play Coca-Cola Championship football when he accepted manager Joe Kinnear's SOS call.

He said: "That's something I haven't even thought about, really. I know there is that old saying, 'We are too good to go down', but we have got the strength of character in the dressing room, from what I have seen so far."

He added: "We have got a few lads injured at the moment. But they will be back come the crunch at the end of the season, so it is about us now trying to cement places in the team so we don't get pushed out by those lads when they come back."

Nolan walked in through the door at St James' Park when much of the talk surrounding the club in recent days has revolved around the possibility of goalkeeper Shay Given and midfielder Charles N'Zogbia heading out of it.

That, coupled with an injury crisis which this week once again claimed captain Michael Owen and midfielder Joey Barton - and the club's desperate efforts to strengthen their threadbare squad - could have put off many prospective signings.

But Nolan said: "I don't really read the papers, so it's not going to put me off. It was about me and my opinion of the club, my opinion of what it's about and what I have heard from the people above.

"I liked it and I don't think many people would turn Newcastle down once they come up and once they see what the supporters are about and what everyone's about.

"I am just delighted to be here now. It just seems weird seeing 'Nolan' on the back of a Newcastle shirt.

"But it's something I will get used to and, I hope, I will be successful with."

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Joey Barton
Kevin Nolan
Michael Owen
Premier League
Newcastle United
Shay Given
Charles N'Zogbia

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