Newcastle winger Shane Ferguson is hoping to force himself into Alan Pardew’s team on a permanent basis.
The Northern Irishman missed the entire pre-season after an injury-hit build-up to the new Premier League campaign but has since made four top-flight appearances.
And he is hoping to continue that run by catching up to his team-mates’ fitness levels.
“I was injured at the start of pre-season, and it’s hard to get back,” Ferguson told the Shields Gazette.
“Pre-season’s a bad time to get injured – you have to catch up with everyone. Thankfully, I’m getting fitter and stronger.
“I’m in the gym every day doing stuff with the fitness coaches. I just have to keep working hard now.
“That’s what the manager wants me to do – stay fit and keep working hard in the gym.
“I’m doing all the extra stuff, and I’ve just got to make an impact whenever I get the chance.”
The Derry-born attacker has notched three assists in all competitions so far and says he is keen to carry on repaying manager Pardew’s confidence in him.
“The manager’s got a lot of faith in me, and I appreciate that loads,” Ferguson said.
“It’s great he plays a lot of youngsters – he’s got a lot of faith in the young lads.
“All the lads can show what they can do (in the Europa League), and it’s great to see.”