Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll is making good progress in his return to fitness following his Deadline Day move back to St James’ Park, with head coach Steve Bruce telling the Sunday Sun that he is close to joining the rest of the squad in training.
Magpies short on striking options
Many fans will feel this cannot come soon enough.
Newcastle have been heavily reliant on their record-breaking summer signing Joelinton to lead the line in the first few weeks of the season.
The Brazilian has impressed with his physicality and link-up play, as well as his match-winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago.
However, with Dwight Gayle still sidelined and Allan Saint-Maximin out with a hamstring injury, the Magpies only have Miguel Almirón and Yoshinori Mutō as attacking options to complement the former TSG 1899 Hoffenheim centre-forward away at Liverpool next weekend.
Therefore, Bruce will be hoping that local boy Carroll will be available for selection sooner rather than later, giving the team some much-needed offensive cover as well as his aerial prowess that is so useful late on in games.
Cautious approach to Carroll comeback
Despite this, as is prudent when dealing with a player with such a poor injury record as Carroll, Bruce is not willing to take any risks during his rehabilitation.
The striker’s last appearance in the Premier League came in February for previous club West Ham United but he has since struggled with an ankle problem which has delayed his second Newcastle debut.
Bruce is therefore pragmatic in his approach to bringing him into the first-team fold, preferring him to get a full two weeks of training under his belt before he can pull on the famous black-and-white shirt once more.
“I am never going to put an exact time on it,” said Bruce. “The good thing for the supporters is that there’s good work he’s done on the training ground with the rehab and physio people.
“The ankle has had no ill effects. He is not sore and not swollen. In the past, that has been the case. Let’s hope he can come and train with us for a couple of weeks.
“The early signs are encouraging.”
‘Early’ being the operative word here, as it will still be a number of weeks before the former number-nine will be challenging Joelinton for a starting berth.
Yet fans will still be encouraged by his progress, as he had shown no adverse effects on his return to the training pitch.
Even before any potential Premier League start, Carroll’s inclusion in training could still have a positive impact the rest of the squad, offering greater competition and a stiff test for the club’s defenders in aerial drills.
Nevertheless, it will be in the opponent’s penalty area that Bruce and fans alike will be hoping Carroll will make the biggest impression, as it will be his goal tally that will ultimately decide the success of his Newcastle return.