Newcastle United

Newcastle United: John Hartson questions extent Steve Bruce can rely on Andy Carroll

Newcastle United: John Hartson questions extent Steve Bruce can rely on Andy Carroll

Former Wales international John Hartson has questioned to what extent Steve Bruce can rely on Andy Carroll remaining fit, given the Newcastle United striker’s horrific injury record.

Carroll has featured three times under Bruce since making his return to St. James’ Park in the summer as a free agent (BBC), with each outing to date coming as a second-half substitute following his long-awaited return from surgery on an ankle injury (TransferMarkt).

The blow had ruled Carroll out of action for the final two months of his time at West Ham United, where he made 12 outings in what proved to be his last season in East London after a six-year spell as a permanent player of the Irons.

Injuries played havoc with his career as a Hammer, with Carroll ruled out for 1,196 days and 137 fixtures across all competitions following West Ham’s decision in turning his temporary move from Liverpool into a permanent arrangement in 2013.

Hartson has now expressed that he feels Newcastle will benefit from Carroll’s services should he remain fit and ready to go as the Gateshead-born forward is a ‘fantastic striker’, but caveats his praise by conceding that the Magpies may not be able to rely on the product of their academy.

“Andy’s a fantastic striker,” the BT Sport pundit told Football FanCast. “You get him fit and you’ve got a real asset, but how much can you trust him?

“I know Andy, he’s a great guy. He only came on a free transfer, and his contract will probably be based on appearances, so he’ll want to get himself fit, but you can’t really rely on having one centre forward who’s been injury prone.”

Bruce is yet to rely on Carroll being his main target man in attack, but the Newcastle boss may soon reach the point where he begins to consider handing the 30-year-old his first start in Black and White since 2010 if Joelinton’s drought in front of goal persists for much longer.

Newcastle’s £40million club-record signing (BBC) has led the line for the Magpies in each Premier League game thus far, but has not scored since opening his account against Tottenham Hotspur in August, and did not register a shot on goal against either Leicester City or Manchester United (WhoScored).

Having Carroll fit and in a condition where he can challenge Joelinton for the starting role will come as a huge boost for Bruce, given the competition for places it would present, but the Toon chief will be well aware of the injury concerns that come with having Carroll in his squad, as Hartson pointed to.

Newcastle fans, would you consider starting Carroll if Joelinton fails to add to his tally in the Magpies’ upcoming games? Let us know in the comments below…

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