Lillestrom 0 Newcastle Utd 3: Newcastle find striking inspiration in Ameobi

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The Independent Online

Damien Duff may be more used to the rarefied surroundings of the Champions' League, but Newcastle United will at least be able to offer their latest recruit European football of sorts.

A potential Uefa Cup trip to Gretna hardly matches some of the high-profile ties Chelsea have enjoyed over the last three years, but the Irishman will have been impressed by the character shown by his new team-mates to be, winning due to a brace of first-half goals by Shola Ameobi.

Clearly having benefited from a further week of training in the wake of a chastening opening encounter, Newcastle were never seriously under threat after Ameobi twice helped himself within the space of seven minutes.

A cross-Hadrian's Wall battle with the Scottish minnows from Gretna could await in the draw on Friday, as Newcastle reflect on a comfortable victory rounded off a minute from time when Emre Belozoglu found the top corner from 20 yards.

Duff's £10m move from Chelsea - Newcastle's first piece of transfer market activity this summer - should be officially confirmed on Monday.

It is expected to herald a busy period of arrivals before the start of the season, with manager Glenn Roeder weighing up fresh attempts to land two of three from Dirk Kuyt, the Feyenoord forward, German international Miroslav Klose and West Ham's Dean Ashton.

"We're looking forward to the second one coming in," he added. "But let's just take one at a time and get Damien through the door first. We've got a list of players we want and we're working through it. There's nothing on the immediate horizon, but things can change quickly.

"Damien's just got to get through his medical but we don't expect any problems. I can't tell you how pleased I am to be getting a player of his quality - he'll really excite the fans."

Yesterday James Milner filled the wide-left berth Duff will occupy for his anticipated debut in Saturday's friendly against PSV Eindhoven as Newcastle operated with a lone striker in Ameobi, who opened the scoring after 29 minutes.

Otto Fredrikson beat out a hopeful 30-yard free-kick from Charles N'Zogbia, and Ameobi reacted first to the rebound to hold-off defender Johan Petter Winsnes and score with an angled drive from inside the area.

Emre should have doubled the lead five minutes later, but fired wide when a poor clearance from Shane Stefanutto dropped invitingly to the unmarked Turk.

Within 60 seconds, Ameobi showed the midfielder how it should be done, arriving unannounced at the back post to apply a simple tap in to Scott Parker's cross to leave only Shearer ahead of him in the club's European goal charts as Newcastle's swift counter-thrust left the Norwegians hopelessly outnumbered.

On Thursday Roeder had insisted Ameobi was only 80 per cent fit due to an ankle problem and had "no chance" of figuring yesterday. After the game, the forward added: "I've had a few problems in the last few weeks so I was delighted to get this chance. The ankle's sore but I've shown I can do a job.

"I know other strikers will come in but I'm in pole position and if I can carry on scoring then the shirt will be mine."

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