London (AFP) – Manager Steve Bruce is ready to unleash “old-fashioned centre-forward” Andy Carroll on the Premier League as the striker attempts to rekindle his career back at struggling Newcastle.
The 30-year-old, who has not played since February because of an ankle injury that required surgery, has trained all week and is ready to make a second debut for the Magpies following his August return to Tyneside.
Bruce knows the former West Ham frontman will have to be carefully managed, but is hoping to see flashes of the form that won him a then British record £35 million ($44m) switch to Liverpool in January 2011 after a blistering start to his career at St James’s Park.
“We all know that if Andy stays fit, he’s a wonderful, wonderful centre-forward, a bit old school, if you like to say that, but certainly of his type,” said Newcastle boss Bruce, whose side host Brighton on Saturday.
“I don’t think there’s been anybody better certainly in the last eight, 10 years when he’s been playing.
“Of that certain type of old-fashioned centre-forward, a fit Andy Carroll is going to be huge going forward, that’s for sure.”
Carroll’s return, along with that of winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who aggravated a hamstring problem at Tottenham last month, will give Bruce options in attack that he has lacked for much of the season, with Dwight Gayle still battling a calf injury.
But it is not just on the pitch that the frontman is having an impact.
“We’ve seen an up-turn in training just because he’s out there too, you can just sense it a little bit, so he’s given everybody a lift at the right time,” said Bruce.