After confirmation that Andy Caroll is not fit enough to be included in the Newcastle squad for the Liverpool game this weekend, his comeback has now been delayed further.
The Northern Echo report that Carroll took part in training alongside his peers yesterday, but quote Bruce as saying it is likely to be next month that we see him donning the black and white shirt again.
Steve Bruce is quoted to have said: “Andy we’ll have to still be patient. However, for the first time today, he joined in with the group to a degree,” said Bruce, aware of how an ankle injury has hampered him for a sustained period now.
“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 really where we are with Andy.”
It is strange to hear Bruce say he “always knew” it would be the end of September, or mid-October for his deadline day striker to make an appearance, with him having previously told the Shields Gazette “it still might be Liverpool” less than two weeks ago.
Everyone knew it would take a bit of time to get the Gateshead forward back to full readiness, but now we are looking at mid-October, and questions need to be asked about the benefits of signing Carroll to bolster the squad.
There were other free-agents available, like Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, who may both have suffered similar injury issues to Carroll, but noth would have been competing for a place in the side by now.
Football results are based on quality not sentiment
I understand the sentimental reasons for bringing Carroll home, or even the hope that the move may allow Bruce to win a few fans over, but my concern is Newcastle United, not emotional reunions.
The plain fact is that we are now into September, and with Dwight Gayle still not fit, and Carroll seemingly still weeks away, we have limited competition and depth in the forward positions.
And if Joelinton was to pick up an injury that would keep him out for multiple games, we would have Yoshinori Muto as our only viable replacement, and he has not shown he is up to leading the line consistently in the Premier League.
As always seems to be the case with Newcastle under Mike Ashley’s ownership, we are still just one injury away from disaster.