Jak Alnwick challenged to earn new deal at Newcastle

CHANCE ... Jak Alnwick.
CHANCE ... Jak Alnwick.

ALAN Pardew’s challenged Jak Alnwick to earn himself a new deal at Newcastle United.

Alnwick came off the bench to make his debut in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Chelsea after Rob Elliot suffered an injury.

The 21-year-old – who is out of contract in the summer – will be in goal for Saturday’s game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

And United manager Pardew – who fears that Elliot will be sidelined until the New Year – has suggested that the club will NOT look to sign an experienced goalkeeper on an emergency loan for the busy festive period.

No1 Tim Krul is out until the middle of next month with an ankle problem, and the club could ask the Premier League for special dispensation to bring in another stopper.

“Jak deserves his chance, and he’s proven that,” said Pardew.

“Now it’s about earning a contract to be a professional footballer at Newcastle – not earning a contract in the summer at a lesser club.

“He’s got a great opportunity, and he needs to take it.”

Elliot had been playing in Krul’s absence with a thigh strain, but the 28-year-old aggravated the problem making a kick, and he yesterday had a scan.

Pardew said: “That’ll be him until January. Both No1 and No2 are out – we’re now on No3.”

Hexham-born Alnwick – whose elder brother Ben played for Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur, and is now at League One club Peterborough United – quickly settled into the game.

Alnwick flattened Chelsea Diego Costa when he made a successful punch, and also tipped a shot from the striker over the bar late in the game, decided in favour of Newcastle by two goals from Papiss Demba Cisse.

And Pardew says goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman – whose 17-year-old son Freddie will be on the bench against Arsneal – was more nervous than Alnwick at the break.

“His disposition and aura said everything,” said Pardew, who is not able to recall goalkeeper Karl Darlow back from a season-long loan at Nottingham Forest.

“We were more nervous than him. Andy Woodman was quaking in his boots for him, but (he was) outstanding to do what he’s done. He’s a cool guy.

“His brother’s a professional, which helps, in that he knows what it’s about.

“He’s going to go in goal for some very important games.”

Asked about the challenge on Costa, Pardew added: “As a goalie, you need that moment to give yourself confidence, and he did.

“I’m very pleased that the team defended well in front of him. He didn’t have a lot to do, but he made two big saves.”

Meanwhile, United bought Darlow, 24, from Forest in the summer in a double deal with defender Jamaal Lascelles, but loaned the pair back to the Championship club.

Darlow has impressed this season, but Lascelles has not been a regular starter for Stuart Pearce’s side

Twitter: @milesstarforth