Can Karl Darlow hold off Rob Elliot’s New Year bid for No 1 jersey at Newcastle?

Karl Darlow
Karl Darlow

Karl Darlow’s hoping his goalkeeping heroics will fend off competition from fit-again Rob Elliot in the New Year.

Darlow has been outstanding for Newcastle United since replacing summer signing Matz Sels between the posts earlier in the season.

Hopefully, no one is going to take the gloves off me. At the moment, it’s just about taking it game by game and putting in performances every week.

Karl Darlow

The goalkeeper made two superb saves in the club’s Boxing Day defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

Elliot is back playing after recovering from the cruciate ligament injury he suffered on international duty with the Republic of Ireland in March.

And the challenge for Darlow is to maintain his form for the second half of the campaign for second-placed United, who are two points behind Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.

“Hopefully, no one is going to take the gloves off me,” said Darlow. “At the moment, it’s just about taking it game by game and putting in performances every week.

“I want to make the manager has to keep picking me each week. I have to just keep going, and make sure I do enough every game.”

Darlow – who twice denied ex-Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher on Boxing Day – admitted that Wednesday’s gameplan worked.

“They stuck to their gameplan, which was obviously to upset us and stop us playing free-flowing football,” he said.

“Credit to them really for doing a good job on us and stopping us getting going.

“We need to pick ourselves up and go again against Forest.”

Newcastle were without suspended midfielder Jonjo Shelvey against Wednesday.

Shelvey’s final ball has often made the difference for United this season, but Darlow feels the team can unlock opponents without him.

“We have enough creativity without Jonjo,” said Darlow.

“The squad’s fantastic, and we have got quality throughout it, so whoever comes into the side for anyone else will replace them with just as much quality.

“It was one of them against Wednesday where it didn’t click and it didn’t quite work out for us, but I’m sure against Forest we’ll be back scoring goals.”