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  1. ITV Report

Harper to make final appearance for Newcastle

Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper is set to make his final appearance for the club today.

The 38-year-old has spent the last 20 years at St James' Park but will leave the Magpies when his contract expires in the summer. Harper will however make one final bow in front of home fans in Newcastle's final match of the season against Arsenal this afternoon.

Regarding life after Newcastle, Harper says he hopes to continue his playing career and has received several offers but will be sad to leave his boyhood club. He said:

"I've had a few calls already so we'll just see. I've never had this in the past, I've always been comfortably in contract.

"It'll be sad to leave but quite exciting in other respects as to what happens next."

– Steve Harper, Newcastle United

Speaking ahead of today's game, Harper admitted that he didn't expect to play against the Gunners. He came on as a second-half substitute during last weekend's 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers after Rob Elliot was sent off.

With Elliot now suspended and Tim Krul still nursing a shoulder injury, Harper is Newcastle's only senior keeper available. But the Easington-born stopper says the match is a welcome distraction. He said:

"I think it's a bonus actually having the game to concentrate on.

"Obviously it's unexpected that I was going to play but having the game to focus on certainly helps keep my mind on that.

What happens after the final whistle remains to be seen. But to finish in front of a full house against a great team like Arsenal will be a nice way to end."

– Steve Harper, Newcastle United

Harper joined Newcastle United from his local club Seaham Red Star in 1993. He has largely been a back-up keeper throughout his career but still made almost 200 appearances for the Magpies, among them an FA Cup Final defeat to Manchester United in 1999. Harper has also made loan spells at several clubs including Gateshead, Hartlepool United and Huddersfield.

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