Troubled former Newcastle United star keen to make his mark having been thrown unlikely pro lifeline

Former Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger is ‘hungry’ to grasp his Football League lifeline with both hands, according to the troubled star’s new Southend United skipper John White.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Nile Ranger of Sheffield Wednesday celebrates after winning the Npower League One match between Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers and winning automatic promotion into the Championship at Hillsborough Stadium on May 5, 2012 in Sheffield, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Nile Ranger of Sheffield Wednesday celebrates after winning the Npower League One match between Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers and winning automatic promotion into the Championship at Hillsborough Stadium on May 5, 2012 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Ranger, who started his professional career with the Magpies, was last week registered as a player with the Shrimpers, having signed for his second spell at Roots Hall on a month-to-month basis.

The 29-year-old is attempting to rekindle his career having dropped out of the professional game to play with non-league Spalding Town recently.

Ranger originally left Southend in January 2018 due to ‘recurring disciplinary issues’.

But White thinks Ranger could be the spark the struggling Blues need in their battle to beat the drop from League Two. Southend currently sit third bottom, one point above the relegation zone.

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“He’s been out of football a while and I think he’s hungry for it again,” White told echo-news.co.uk.

“He’s recently become a dad and that focuses the mind on what you need to be doing.

“But I’m hoping for his sake as much as the football club that he comes and does what he can do and shown in glimpses before.

“Hopefully the other side of things has been left behind and it’s a fresh start for him to push on, make his mark and do something special.”

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Ranger could make his second Southend debut against Forest Green tomorrow, having recovered from a reported calf problem.

"A Nile Ranger on a good day is absolutely unplayable,” said White.

“We just need more of those good days and hopefully he can have an impact on the games we’ve got left, make things happen and give us something a bit different.”

Ranger made just one appearance for Northern Premier League Division One South East club Spalding, having signed in October.

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In his only appearance the controversial frontman also scored in a 3-3 draw with Belper Town on October 31, prior to the season postponement due to coronavirus.

Shrimpers boss Mark Molesley said: “Nile has still got to earn the right to play for this club and he knows that himself. Everyone has to earn the right.

“He has got to repay the faith I have shown him on the pitch, and I am excited to see a fully fit Nile play for this football club.”