Having re-joined his boyhood club in the closing stages of transfer deadline day, Newcastle forward Andy Carroll in slowly nearing full fitness.
Carroll has began training with the first team this week, following his solo rehabilitation after a lengthy ankle injury; the striker had surgery on his ankle in April and has not played competitive football since February.
Upon his arrival, manager Steve Bruce marked out this weekend’s fixture against Liverpool as a possible return date, however this is unlikely given that Carroll has only recently stepped onto the training pitch, with the trip to Anfield just days away.
Given Carroll’s recent injury record, it would be wise of the Newcastle medical staff to protect the forward and wait until he is fully fit as opposed to rushing him in ahead of schedule, which could potentially trigger another setback.
A similar situation occurred in United’s victory at Spurs in late-August, whereby another signing – Allan Saint-Maximin – was rushed back and named in the starting XI after being considered doubtful for the fixture. Saint-Maximin subsequently pulled up after ten minutes with a recurrence of his injury and was forced off as a result, with Bruce later admitting that he should have protected the winger.
Carroll’s return in the black and white jersey is eagerly anticipated by supporters, while a fully-fit Andy Carroll is undoubtedly a handful to any defence in the league, while he will provide an alternative option to Newcastle’s attack.
The former Liverpool man’s strength and aerial ability will help fill the void left by Salomon Rondon. Even if he is unable to start, the Geordie would also have an impact coming off the bench. His heading prowess would even assist on the defensive side by helping to clear set-pieces and corners.
United’s main concern with Carroll this season is keeping him fit, as opposed to the number of goals he scores, as a fully-fit Andy Carroll will certainly be crucial to Newcastle’s run-in.