By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Months of hard work are beginning to pay off for Shane Ferguson, who has now set up goals in each of Newcastle's last two games.
His superb left-wing cross at Reading on Saturday was bundled home by Demba Ba for United's second equaliser, and that followed his similarly inviting cross for Papiss Cisse to score against Manchester United at Old Trafford in midweek.
On both occasions, he has entered the field as a second half substitute and made a genuine impact as he tries to make his mark after missing most of pre-season with a groin injury.
And the 21-year-old Northern Ireland international admitted that he has been practising day in, day out to add a quality final ball to the skill and tenacity he has displayed ever since he first broke into the team under Alan Pardew.
"In training, the coaches try to get me to cross a lot more," he told nufc.co.uk from the Madejski Stadium following United's 2-2 draw.
"It's something I've always wanted to try and get better at, and try to help the team as much as I can with it.
"I just try to do as much as I can for the team, push the team up the pitch as much as I can and get crosses into that box. That's what the manager wants me to do."
Even before his assist, Ferguson had got the travelling fans on their feet with a couple of direct runs and he revealed how the supporters helped to spur him on.
"After the Man United match, I was full of confidence in training and coming into this game," he said.
"And it's always great to hear the fans. It makes you want to do more and it's good for your confidence.
"We were a bit under pressure and we knew before we came here that it was a hard place to come, but it was great to come on and get another assist.
"We're a bit disappointed because we wanted to come down and win but obviously to come here and win is hard so we'll definitely take the point."
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