This is a Worthy cup for me, says Elliott - 06/11/2002
Robbie Elliott refused to dismiss the Worthington Cup last night after admitting the least glamorous of this season's four competitions could save his Newcastle career.
United's out-of-favour left back will start his first game of the season as Sir Bobby Robson rotates his first team squad to full effect against Everton this evening.
And Elliott knows he has 90 minutes to confirm his class in front of the manager who beat a string of clubs to the defender's prized signature 16 months ago.
"It's been tough for me so far this season but there are other experienced players in the same boat," explained the Gosforth-born full back.
"Try telling any one of us that this game isn't important and we'll say otherwise. It's a chance to put ourselves back in the frame even if it is only for one game.
"It might not look like the biggest match of the season but if we can beat Everton then that's another Worthington Cup tie to come. In my position these games could be a godsend."
Elliott has remained tight-lipped regarding his lack of first team opportunities this season, but there is no way that a player who spurned Premiership football with Bolton in favour of a return home can be happy with his current situation.
Both Aaron Hughes and Olivier Bernard are ahead of the 28-year-old in the Newcastle pecking order and once tomorrow evening's fixture has passed, another frustrating spell in the reserves looms.
Indeed, it would appear that Elliott and his fellow fringe players are on a hiding to nothing against the Toffees - a victory against David Moyes' men is unlikely to further their first team claims but defeat could damage any future prospects. "All I can do is make the most of the opportunity against Everton and see what happens after that," he added. "I'll give it my best shot and if things go well then who knows?
"I need games right now and it doesn't matter to me what competition they're in. I still think I have plenty to offer to Newcastle United and this is the chance to prove it." Elliott last started a first team fixture on April 23 - the night Newcastle secured their chance to challenge for a Champions League berth with a 2-2 draw at Blackburn.
Successive substitute's appearances against Zeljeznicar and West Ham at the start of the current campaign represent his limited contribution this season and a host of clubs are monitoring his situation. Elliott and his family are settled in Northumberland and the last thing the ex-England Under-21 international would want is to sever ties with his hometown club a second time.
However, the popular Geordie is only interested in securing regular first team football and even the pride he feels when handed a black- and-white shirt cannot compensate for a lack of matches for a player fast approaching his 30s.
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