Former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll will be hoping he can make an impact on his return to St James’ Park on Saturday, as the Toon face a struggling West Ham side.
The 6’4 target man has just recovered from yet another long injury lay off, and will be relishing the chance to play against his old club.
The Hammers have won just one of their last six matches and sit one place behind Newcastle on 12 points.
Its a huge game for both teams as they look to extend the gap between themselves and the relegation zone.
Carroll remained on the bench for West Ham’s 4-0 loss to Man City last weekend, but he could get some game time against the Magpies.
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Managers seem to have a penchant for playing former players against their old clubs, and Carroll will be desperate to prove himself to new boss Manuel Pellegrini.
But what are the chances of him causing a stir at St James’ Park this weekend?
Will Carroll even play?
The big Geordie is never likely to start for West Ham these days, especially with Marko Arnautovic in the side.
The Austrian forward was phenomenal last season and has looked similarly dangerous this campaign with five goals so far.
But the striker hobbled off in the Manchester City defeat and is currently a doubt for the Newcastle game.
There is still the likes of Javier Hernandez and Michail Antonio to contend with, but Carroll is now in with a shot of getting some minutes.
Newcastle have been phenomenal at defending aerial threats in recent weeks, but looked iffy at times against Burnley’s target man Sam Vokes.
The Clarets striker certainly caused a lot of problems on Monday night, scoring with a header. He also consistently won his aerial duels which created a number of chances for teammates.
If Pellegrini studied the game, he’ll know Carroll could play a similar role for The Hammers on Saturday.
Carroll’s past performances against Newcastle
Carroll has now faced Newcastle nine times since leaving for Liverpool in 2011.
It’s something of a mixed bag, and his presence was felt more in some matches than others.
For example in one of those wins he played just three minutes as a tactical substitution in the 90th minute.
And in the other two he failed to score. In fact, hee has in fact never scored against his former club in the Premier League.
His biggest impact against them was arguably in a 3-2 loss to the Magpies last season.
Newcastle led the game 3-1, but Carroll almost inspired a comeback when he was brought on in the second-half.
The striker sent a trademark header towards goal just minutes after coming on. Rob Elliot made a good save but Andre Ayew was there to score the rebound, making it 3-2. Although it didn’t quite fuel a comeback, he certainly impressed, and gave the Newcastle defenders a torrid time.
He is always a tough test for any defence, and Newcastle will be hoping that his return is not a memorable one this time.