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Goals will only be a bonus for Bramble.

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Titus Bramble last night shrugged off his Uefa Cup goalscoring streak and insisted helping United keep a clean sheet was his only priority.

Bramble has scored in both rounds of the Uefa Cup this season, at home to NAC Breda and away at FC Basle. Those strikes represent his only goals for the club, but the pounds 6m signing said he was not particularly interested in maintaining the run.

"A goal would be nice, but I'm not concentrating on that," said the former Ipswich Town star who will again start this evening as Sir Bobby Robson has decided against risking the injury-prone Jonathan Woodgate.

"My main priority is trying to stop goals going in at the other end, not scoring them. If I do it is just a bonus.

"If we can keep a clean sheet in Norway I'll be happy and it will have been a job well done. We've seen the state of the pitch and it is not good.

"I think the weather conditions are going to be as much of a threat to us as they are. We don't know much about them, but we just have to make sure we do a professional job.

"We're not going to be taking it easy because that is how you slip up.

"The Uefa Cup is our last chance of some silverware this season so we know how important this game is for us."

Bramble has played well in Newcastle's last two games, the draw at Blackburn Rovers and the win against Middlesbrough after a less than convincing display in the 1-0 win over Leeds saw him relegated to the bench. But with Woodgate approaching match fitness again, he knows he will face a fight to hold on to his place.

He said: "I was disappointed to lose my place in the side after the Leeds game, but things have gone reasonably well for me since I came back into the side.

"Woodie, myself and Andy O'Brien all know we are not guaranteed a place and you have a constant fight to stay in the side.

"Woodie is almost fit again, but I hope I've done enough to stay in the side.

"We've got three top centre-backs at the club and if you have a couple of bad games you know you'll be out of the side.

"All I can do is work to make sure the standard of my performances remain high."
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2004
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