Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seagull Steve

Farewell, albeit temporarily, to Steve Harper, our erstwhile first-choice 'keeper having yesterday joined Kazenga LuaLua on loan at Championship outfit Brighton.

After years playing underemployed understudy to Shay Given followed by a couple of much-deserved seasons in the limelight, Harper has this campaign once again found himself out of favour, displaced by Tim Krul. Harsh, it's true, but even he couldn't dispute the Dutchman's brilliance. Since being handed his chance by Alan Pardew, Krul's not put a foot wrong.

Pardew's comment that Harper's "unfortunate to have a top young goalkeeper like Tim come through and push him to one side" glosses over the fact that Krul's selection has been the manager's decision, or that Pardew also chose to bring in another 'keeper over the summer, Charlton's Rob Elliot. The loan period is for an initial month, so he could well be back on Tyneside before too long - but the writing does seem to be on the wall.

Harper didn't have to wait long for his debut, slotting straight into the Seagulls side that took on West Ham at the Amex, at the expense of Casper Ankergren. And it was a familiar face who got the better of him for what proved to be the only goal of the game, Kevin Nolan scoring from distance to put Fat Sam's side second and condemn the division's early-season pacesetters to a seventh consecutive match without a win.

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