Harper hopes to stay number one

Steve Harper is hoping he will be given the chance to nail down the number one spot at Newcastle when Tim Krul returns to action.

With Krul currently sidelined with an elbow injury, Alan Pardew has turned to Harper for keeping cover.

The vastly-experienced 37-year-old has let no-one down and is setting his sights on a derby tussle with Sunderland when Premier League action resumes after the international break.

Harper hopes he, Krul and Rob Elliot will be given ample opportunity to impress over the remainder of the season, with Newcastle having to juggle domestic and European commitments.

"Tim's comeback's not too far away, but we do have a lot of games coming up," Harper told the Evening Chronicle.

"We have Robbie here too pushing for a place. He has made big strides forward in the last month or two.

"Those performances will do him the world of good."

Harper is fast closing in on 200 appearances for Newcastle and is determined to reach that landmark before hanging up his gloves.

He added: "I would like to get to 300, but I cannot see it happening at my age, but 200 would be nice.

"That is a landmark I would like to get to.

"We've got a long season ahead of us and we know there are plenty of games ahead."