Steve Bruce has good news on Andy Carroll – and Matt Ritchie
Andy Carroll’s back in training at Newcastle United – and Matt Ritchie’s not far behind him.
Carroll, signed as a free agent on transfer deadline day last month, yesterday took part in half the first-team squad’s training session.
The striker – who had ankle surgery late last season – won’t be available for Saturday’s game against his former club Liverpool, but the 30-year-old is edging closer to a comeback.
And Ritchie has made a “surprising” recovery from the ankle injury he suffered in Newcastle’s Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester City last month.
“Andy, we'll have to still be patient,” said Bruce. “However, for the first time, he joined in with the group to a degree. He only took part in half of the session, non-contact, but it's good to see him out kicking a ball again.
“I always knew that it would be towards the end of this month, and halfway through the next month.”
It was feared that Ritchie would be sidelined for up to two months with the injury he suffered after what Bruce described as a “horror challenge” from Hamza Choudhury at St James’s Park.
However, the winger is already running – and could be back next month.
“Matt Ritchie being Matt Ritchie, (he) is surprising us all,” said Bruce, United’s head coach. “When I looked over, he was running. He's back on the training ground running in straight lines. I think that's better news. With Matt, the good thing is it's an impact. If there's anything that an injury picks up on is impact. We know what it is.
“If it's muscles, it's always a bit of a problem, and ligaments and things like that, but he's out on the grass and the progress he's made in two weeks is quite remarkable.
“I think it could be good news for all of us. He doesn't look as if he'll be eight weeks, I wouldn't think. We don't put timescales on these thing but closer to four or five weeks might be better.”
A number of Bruce’s players have been on international duty – and some will return late.
“It is what it is,” said Bruce. “You can't worry about these things.”