By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
He may not have had too much game time since arriving on Tyneside last summer, but goalkeeper Rob Elliot believes he is a much better goalkeeper for having made the switch to Newcastle.
A first-choice at League One outfit Charlton Athletic, Elliot has had to be patient during his spell so far with the Magpies - with just a solitary Carling Cup appearance to his name against Nottingham Forest back in September.
But training every day alongside current number one Tim Krul and experienced stopper Steve Harper, under the tutelage of goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman, Elliot knows he made the right decision in moving to the top flight.
"At Charlton I played game after game after game, whereas here I haven't played too many games, but that's given me a chance to tweak things about my game," the 25-year-old explained to nufc.co.uk.
"And because of that I know that when I do get a chance I will be a better keeper for it.
"The quality of the players helps too. Some of the players we've got here are top drawer and world class even, and that's perfect for me. If I can strive to do well every day in training and be stopping people like Papiss, Demba and Hatem from scoring then I'm going to be on the way to stopping a lot of players.
"That is one of the aims for me - I want to continue working on my game, and then when I get my chance take it as best I can.
"I get asked a lot, why did I leave Charlton when I'm not playing here? You do look and think that I could have been playing a part in a promotion-winning team for them, which would have been fantastic. But the opportunity to join Newcastle was too good to turn down.
"We are sat joint-fourth in the league and as a second-choice keeper you are only one bad decision or one injury away from playing - touch wood that doesn't happen to Tim though.
"At the time you have to take the biggest opportunity you can get, because not many people are lucky enough to get a chance in the Premier League, let alone a massive club like Newcastle."
Elliot's debut season in the North-East could not have gone much better, being part of a squad which is riding high in the Premier League with just five games to go.
But the keeper is setting no targets for their remaining fixtures, and insists it has been a remarkable and memorable campaign whatever the outcome.
"We just want to finish off and have a strong end to the season. Regardless of whether we get into Europe or whatever happens, it's been a brilliant season," said Elliot.
"When you look at the size of the squad, compared to who we are up against and where we are, I don't think anyone can argue that we don't deserve to be where we are.
"We just want to kick on over these last five games and see where it takes us."