Steve Bruce and Newcastle could be set for a surprise boost for the Sheffield United game on Thursday, with pictures showing Andy Carroll back in training ahead of the match.
Having been listed as ruled out earlier this week, his status has subsequently been upgraded to 50-50, and from the images on the official Newcastle United website, it would seem a fair bet that he may be involved on Thursday.
If he does make the bench, and have any influence on the game, if and when he comes off it, fans will bizarrely have Amazon to thank for it.
The game was originally pencilled in for Tuesday, but was moved to Thursday by Amazon, as part of their package to show every Premier League game live this week on their Prime service.
Had the game taken place on the original date, Carroll would not have been able to take part, but the extra 48 hours have proved crucial to his fitness chances.
Although it is unlikely to affect Bruce’s starting lineup, having both Carroll and Dwight Gayle on the bench gives the manager options, should he find himself needing to change tactics, or chasing the game in the second half.
Carroll needs to be more of a goal threat when on the pitch
Since returning to the side, Carroll has shown glimpses of what he can bring to the team, with him often – even in a cameo role – bullying defenders in the air.
But the down-side, is that he has rarely looked like getting on the score-sheet, and neither has Gayle either, for that matter.
With Joelinton still having to play largely on his own up front, he is also struggling to find the net, which is why it is so important that Bruce’s substitutes have an impact when they come on.
It is surely a matter of time until it clicks up front, and that may yet take a tweak of the system to have extra support for whichever forward is on the pitch at the time.
But with Miguel Almiron starting to show signs of getting back to form, and Allan Saint-Maximin looking dangerous every time he turns defence into attack, chances should start to come Joelinton and Co’s way.
So having Carroll back for Thursday’s game – should he be deemed fit enough for a substitute’s place – will be a big boost for Newcastle, in a match that could see them knocking on the door of the top half of the table with a win.