NILE Ranger has pledged to start making headlines for the right reasons at Newcastle United.
The forgotten striker – who hasn’t made a first-team appearance this season – is determined to salvage his career at the club.
Ranger’s career at the Sports Direct Arena is at a crossroads.
The 20-year-old is back in training after recovering from the ankle injury he suffered playing for loan club Barnsley.
He’s looking to force his way into Alan Pardew’s plans between now and the end of the season.
Pardew was impressed by Ranger’s impact off the bench last season.
However, off-the-field issues, and a lack of application on the training pitch, have seen him fall out of favour at the Sports Direct Arena.
“Hopefully, I can get involved here,” Ranger said.
“Peter (Lovenkrands) is out with a bad one, and Bestie (Leon Best) has done his knee. It only leaves Demba (Ba), (Papiss Demba) Cisse and (Hatem) Ben Arfa.
“My focus is to still break into the team – it always has been – but if I don’t get games, I’ll have to keep going out on loan.
“Hopefully, I won’t have to, and I can stay here.
“I just need to keep my head down and work hard.
“I’m like a forgotten man. It has been a while (since I played for Newcastle)
“It would be some story if I did come back and get in the team, because I’ve been getting into a bit of bother now and again.”
Ranger will be tried over an allegation of assault, which he denies, at Newcastle Crown Court in June.
He is also due back in court over a separate drunk and disorderly charge later this month.
Ranger said: “The key for me is to make the headlines for the right reasons – people know me for the wrong thing.
“I just want to play football and keep my nose clean.
“I still want to play for Newcastle United. Of course I do – it’s a massive club.”
Ranger joined Barnsley on a two-month loan in November, but his spell at Oakwell was cut short by injury.
“I got told I’d done a ligament, and had bone bruising.
“It was frustrating because I wasn’t getting games here. It was a chance to play in the first team.
“It was giving me some experience, and it was going well because the Championship’s a hard level.”