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I am not afraid

I am not afraid

Nikos Dabizas insists there will be no fear when he lines up against Derby County tomorrow - even though he has painful memories of last season's fixture.

Nikos Dabizas wins the ball from Aston Villa's Darius Vassell. The Rams were the first visitors to St James' Park last term, but a 3-2 August victory for the Magpies was overshadowed by a serious knee ligament injury sustained by the Greek centre-half.

It was enough to put Dabizas out of action for six months, but the 28-year-old won't let history or superstition affect him.

He said: "It's not something you can avoid. It will always be in the back of my mind that I got injured in that game. It wasn't a good thing for me, but bad things are there to test your character and to see how strong you are as a person.

"And while it was very disappointing for me to be injured for so long, I believe I returned a stronger person, both mentally and physically.

"Sometimes when all you are used to is playing football regularly, then you can start to take things for granted. It's only when you are away from the game for so long that you realise this. When you're playing all the time and you're never injured like I was, then it's different to when you are out for a long time.

"I think I'm stronger now, both on and off the field. I'm not superstitious about playing against Derby, it's just coincidence that it happened against them.

"It's not something I would be afraid of. It might have happened on another night, instead it happened against them. In fact, I'm looking to respond with a great performance and a victory.

Dabizas is set to come head-to-head with Derby's Italian hitman Fabrizio Ravanelli for the first time.



232 Appearances in England (175 for Newcastle United, 18 for Leicester in the Premier League and 39 for Leicester in the Championship). Total League-Cup-Europe appearances 550. National Team appearances 70. Goals total 40.