Nolan looks past 'Carroll saga'
Midfielder Nolan has also apologised to any Magpies fans he offended by revealing he was "delighted" for Carroll at joining a "fantastic club" in Liverpool. The Magpies are still reeling from the loss of Carroll, who became the most expensive British footballer of all time when he moved to Anfield for £35million late on transfer deadline day. Nolan struck up a close friendship with the 22-year-old after joining Newcastle from Bolton two years ago. The pair even ended up living together last year under bail conditions imposed on Carroll for an assault charge, of which he was later cleared. A lifelong Liverpool fan himself, Nolan appeared on the club's in-house television channel this week to wax lyrical about his former team-mate but managed to alienate some of his own team's supporters in the process. "If fans don't like it, I apologise," said Nolan. "It was never meant to affect them. But Liverpool is a great club and everyone knows that." He added: "There's no-one more disappointed than me. "Not only have we lost a top player but I've lost a good mate who was very close. "To be honest, I'm getting quite sick of the whole Andy Carroll saga. I just want to put it to bed and get on with it. "The last thing I want is to start upsetting our fans because they have been brilliant." The Newcastle faithful certainly were last night, turning out in force for their side's 1-0 Premier League defeat at Fulham, the first match of the post-Carroll era. Their misery at Carroll's departure was compounded when fellow forward Shola Ameobi suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone at Craven Cottage that could rule him out for up to six weeks. Remaining strikers Leon Best, Nile Ranger and Peter Lovenkrands failed to step up to the plate yesterday but Nolan insists they have no choice ahead of Saturday's game with Arsenal. "They're paid by the club to do a job," said the 28-year-old, unaware manager Alan Pardew is considering exploiting the free transfer market. "They've been chomping at the bit and shouting that they want to play games. Well, this is the time. "They're going to get a chance and they have to take it." With Carroll gone, Nolan is now the club's top scorer with 10 goals and he vowed to weigh in with more. He also promised promoted Newcastle would not be sucked into the relegation dogfight, as they were when he joined in 2009. "We've never, ever been a one-man band," said Nolan, whose side are six points above the drop zone. "As soon as we won promotion, we knew it was going to be tough." He added: "I'm definitely confident that we can stay away from the relegation zone this time. "Hopefully there's a bit more character in the squad now but we're going to find that out in the next four months." And despite last night's victory propelling the home side up to 12th, Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is taking nothing for granted in the battle to avoid the drop. "You're looking at points, not necessarily at the position you are in the table," said the Australian, who was a surprise starter just four days after the end of his country's Asian Cup campaign. "The sooner we get to 40 points, the sooner we can start to look further up the table." Schwarzer immediately displaced understudy David Stockdale, whose omission dented his hopes of a maiden England call-up. "It's always tough when you come in and you do well and then you get left out again," Schwarzer said. "But it's also part of the learning process and you've got to see how you react."