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Minutes Matter To Mehdi

Written by Newcastle Utd

Two 90-minute Reserve run-outs this week - the most recent coming against Sunderland on Thursday - have been "very important" to midfielder Mehdi Abeid

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Mehdi Abeid was pleased after completing his second 90 minutes in the space of four days during Thursday night's derby draw with Sunderland.

In his first season in English football after a summer move from Lens, the 20-year-old midfielder finds himself on the very fringes of the first-team squad - a situation which means he is only occasionally risked at Reserve team level despite his sporadic senior involvement.

As a result, he was pleased to get the opportunity to play for Willie Donachie's second-string at Aston Villa on Monday night and in the 3-3 thriller against the Black Cats as he looks to maintain his match-fitness ahead of the final 11 games of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

Abeid spoke to nufc.co.uk after Ryan Donaldson's late leveller at the Sports Direct Arena, which came only a minute after Dan Gosling was dismissed for a second yellow card following a deliberate handball.

"For me, it's very important to have some minutes because I haven't played a lot with the first-team," said the youngster, whose two Newcastle appearances so far have both been in cup competitions - at Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup and against Blackburn in the FA Cup. 

"It's a very big thing for me to play and to have time to get better. I need that. I need it for the season, hopefully with the first-team or maybe on loan if possible.

"And it was a great game today. We played very well and I'm happy for the team."

Gabriel Obertan's opener was cancelled out by Oumare Tounkara before Ryan Noble gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half-time. Gosling equalised, but Tounkara headed the Wearsiders ahead once more - only for Donaldson to have the final say.

Abeid said: "It was a difficult game for me because I hadn't had a lot of playing time but I feel better for it now and that's good for me. I needed it and I hope to play more in the future.

"We passed the ball quickly and well on a good pitch and there was a good feeling amongst everybody. We are really happy and we hope to do well every week.

"We showed good character. Everybody showed good character because to be with ten men is difficult; the legs were tired but we did well and I'm happy that we got a draw."