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Newcastle United's home form will be key to their Premier League chances this season as they cannot rely on away performances to see them through, according to Shola Ameobi.
The striker helped his side rescue a point at St James Park at the weekend, where they came from two goals down to scrape a late draw with a struggling Wigan side.
Newcastle started strongly at home with a 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa, but since then have lost to Blackpool and Stoke before that Wigan draw.
They are teetering only two points above the Premier League relegation zone and Ameobi claims making St James Park a fortress will be vital if they are to preserve their top flight status this season – which is the usual target for any side coming up from the Championship and something the Premier League betting offers suggest Newcastle are more than capable of.
Ameobi, who experienced relegation with Newcastle in 2009, told the BBC that it was a good result to earn a draw with Wigan as three straight defeats would be “difficult to swallow”.
“The majority of our points have to come at home this season,” he said.
“At home we expect to be picking up points. At times we make it tough for ourselves but we have got that spirit and we have to believe in ourselves.” added the forward.
Despite this, the game against West Ham on Saturday will be vital and anyone looking to bet on Premier League winner in that match can get some good odds for a Newcastle victory.
It remains to be seen whether Newcastle's season will be affected the problems facing forward Andy Carroll. The 21-year-old, who has been tipped for an England cap in the near future, is on bail for assaulting his girlfriend and a court has ruled he must live with Kevin Nolan until January.
Consistency and preparation are key to any Premier League relegation dogfight and such off-the-field problems like this could have a negative effect on the player and the team.