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Pardew Hails Harper

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Alan Pardew has praised veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper, who is set to bring down the curtain on his Newcastle career against Arsenal on Sunday

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Fate has conspired to give Steve Harper the chance to bid an emotional farewell to Newcastle after 20 years, with Alan Pardew admitting Sunday's game against Arsenal would probably be the veteran goalkeeper's final game for the Club.

Since joining the Magpies from Seaham Red Star in 1993, the Easington-born shot-stopper has served United with distinction, playing in an FA Cup final and helping the black and whites win the Championship title.

With Tim Krul injured and Rob Elliot suspended following his red card against Queens Park Rangers last weekend, Harper will don the gloves against the Gunners in front of a packed St. James' Park as the curtain falls on the 2012/13 campaign - and, more than likely, his Gallowgate career with his contract ending this summer.

"It does feel right," Pardew said as he paid tribute to the 38-year-old. "He's been a servant of this football club for 20 years and I've managed him for two and a half seasons.

"He's been an absolute superb professional in and around the place.

"And it's kind of ironic that this has turned out because I think he wants to continue playing next year and I think he's well worthy of a starting place next year - but perhaps somewhere else.

"I don't think he'll be here next year and I think he's very much aware that this is probably his last game, and therefore it'll be a great tribute for our fans and everybody here to pay that respect for him."

Click here to buy a Newcastle United shirt with Harper's name and number on the back