Andy Carroll set for shock Newcastle United comeback
Andy Carroll could be just a week away from his second Newcastle United debut.
The striker, re-signed on transfer deadline day as a free agent, had ankle surgery while a West Ham United player late last season.
Carroll this week returned to the training pitch to do some drills with his team-mates.
The 30-year-old is now hoping to get the go-ahead from a specialist to return to full-contact training ahead of the September 21 home game against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Asked if Carroll could be on the bench if he is given the green light by the specialist, head coach Steve Bruce said: “Yes. We need some positive news from his specialists now.”
While Carroll has been unavailable for his first month back on Tyneside, he’s still had an influence in the dressing room.
“He's not the young Andy Carroll. It's the Andy Carroll who can help the two Longstaffs (Sean and Matty), help Allan Saint-Maximin, because he's a bag of tricks,” said Bruce. “It's to try and help them a little bit and steer them in the right way, and I think he's enjoyed that responsibility.
“He's not the young one – he's matured a lot. In that respect, he's been good around the place.”
Bruce has also been without Dwight Gayle – who has a calf problem – and summer signing Allan Saint-Maximin, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
“He (Gayle) had a calf strain, so you're thinking ‘he's going to be ready in a week’,” said United’s head coach. “Unfortunately, he hasn't been, and, of course, with Allan Saint-Maximin as well, we've been a little short in that area.
“It's been difficult over the last four or five weeks, because we haven't had much to come off the bench and something to change us.
Bruce isn’t expecting Carroll to play week in, week out.
“If we get 12, 15 starts from him, then I'll be delighted,” said Bruce. “We all know he's not going to play 35 times, but he could be an impact player. Let's hope his ankle is OK, and if he’s OK, he’s going to be a big plus for us.”