YOUNG Newcastle striker Adam Campbell has made a quicker-than-expected recovery from injury – and could be unleashed on Bordeaux tonight.
The teenager was not expected to make his comeback from a knee problem until the New Year.
But Campbell has returned to training ahead of schedule, and he travelled to France last night as part of manager Alan Pardew’s 20-man squad for the Magpies’ final Europa League group stage game.
Pardew, whose men have already clinched qualification for the knockout stage in February, could hand Campbell a place on his bench at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
“The medical team have done an absolutely brilliant job with Adam,” Pardew said. “He’s come back, and he looks absolutely fine.
“That’s a boost for everybody. His enthusiasm for the game will spread around the camp. It’s nice to have him in and around us again.”
The 17-year-old – who became the youngest-ever player to represent Newcastle in Europe when he made his club debut against Atromitos in August – suffered the injury in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Sunderland in October.
Meanwhile, Pardew has confirmed Nile Ranger will make his first in two and a half years against Bordeaux.
The striker, 21, has come in from the cold at the club after improving his discipline off the field and application on the pitch.
Pardew said: “Nile will start. I think he’s probably the story of the last two or three months in terms of a positive. He’s been out of the papers, he’s been on time for the last eight to ten weeks and he’s put in application on the training ground.
“If you stick to the rules and put the (work) ethic in, I’ll give you a chance.
“That’s all it is for him at the moment – a chance. We hope he takes it. We know he’s got talent.”
Gael Bigirimana, Sylvain Marveaux and Shane Ferguson will also play from the start against Bordeaux, who are also through to the last 32.
Mindful of Monday night’s Premier League game against Fulham, Pardew will rest a number of key players. Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba, Cheik Tiote and Davide Santon all stayed at home.
However, United are keen to win to finish top of Group D and avoid a Champions League team.
“We’re conscious of how many fans have come out here,” added Pardew. “We don’t want to let them down, but we are limited by numbers. I’ve brought everyone who’s fit,. There’s no doubt Fergie, Sammy, Bigi and Marveaux will all start.”
Midfielders Conor Newton, 21, and Yven Moyo, 20, have been included in the squad, with both yet to make their first-team debuts.
NEWCASTLE (from): Krul, Elliot, Abeid, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Anita, Bigirimana, Campbell, Cisse, Coloccini, Ferguson, Marveaux, Moyo, Newton, Perch, Ranger, Simpson, Tavernier, Williamson.
H Pardew and his players were sat on the club’s chartered aircraft for several hours at Newcastle airport yesterday. They had to wait for the snow showers to stop and the runway to be cleared before setting off for France, arriving late last night.