NATHAN Blake has a message for his manager Brian Kidd and Newcastle United - Don't count me out!

The former Bolton striker is eager to grab a slice of FA Cup glory and, with Matt Jansen cup tied and Kevin Gallacher injured, could return to the squad for tomorrow's televised fifth round clash at St James's Park.

Blake has been a regular goalscorer against the Magpies for his other clubs - he scored in both matches for Bolton last season - and would fancy his chances again if he gets the opportunity.

For, here is one man who is totally unfazed by the incredible competition for places up front; incredible that is when all six senior strikers are eventually fit and available.

And he doesn't concern himself with the thought that he was Roy Hodgson's last major signing before the axe fell.

Now back in training after a neck injury, Blake said: "I have never worried about other players being in front of me.

"I suppose being Roy Hodgson's last signing might mean something. Mr Parkes was quoted as saying that because Ashley and Matt were Brian Kidd's signings they would probably go straight into the team.

"But the new manager might like what he sees in me.

"Besides, I am not the type of person to bother about what others are doing, I am concentrating on my own game and form. "I just look after myself. If you don't get in the team, you don't get in.

"Tim Flowers is in that situation at the moment and he's a brilliant keeper. But there's a brilliant keeper in front of him."

Whenever talk of Rovers' strikers crops up so does speculation that one or two might be on the move.

Blake knows that it is often his name at the forefront.

"I do seem to be linked with everyone but the gaffer hasn't said anything to me," he said.

"But I played a couple of games and scored a couple of goals before getting flu and then the neck injury.

"And even if anything is going to happen, I can't see it happening before the end of the season. It's no big deal."

The FA Cup obviously offers an extra chance for Blake to fight his way back into the action, because of Jansen's absence.

But, involved or not at Newcastle, he insists everyone is together at Ewood.

"It's going to be difficult to get back in and I just have to wait and see what happens," he explained.

"But we are all part of the same squad and there's no point bitching. "Being injured has put me back a bit so I have to wait my turn."

Blake rejoined the squad for training on Wednesday but he has not been idle, even though the neck injury restricted what he could do.

He sustained the injury putting in a header and it got to the stage where he couldn't move the neck at all.

"The practitioner had a look at it and a scan showed there were one or two other problems as well but I was able to get on the treadmill and the bike, so I didn't stop training altogether."

A place in tomorrow's 16 would be ample reward for Blake's work to get fit and help to ensure that the competition for places up front remains keen despite the other absentees.

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