Ground is fertile for former cult hero to make Newcastle return

The rollercoaster ride that has been Andy Carroll’s senior career could be about to corkscrew yet again with rumours linking the West Ham striker to a shock Newcastle return, potentially as soon as January.

This is according to a report in the Daily Mirror at least. With the Premier League paused for the second international break of the season, the paper claim Newcastle manager Steve McClaren is planning to bid for the ex-Toon striker’s services.

Given Newcastle’s travails at the wrong end of the league table under McClaren so far this season, such a move for a former fan favourite doesn’t seem that improbable.

While Carroll’s expected career curve since being lured away from his boyhood club has fallen some way shy of that expected from the one-time £35m player, the former Liverpool striker still has much to offer, if fit.

But just as injuries hampered his time at Anfield, since heading south to join the Hammers on a permanent basis they’ve seriously scuppered Carroll’s Boleyn Ground stay too.

The burly frontman’s best period remains his breakthrough years at St James’ Park where his 19 Championship goals in 2009/10 contributed significantly to Newcastle bouncing back immediately from relegation.

By the time Carroll had fired in 11 more in 20 Premier League appearances the following season for the Magpies, Liverpool came knocking with a cheque too chunky for the Tyneside club to refuse.

Although the Gateshead native is a popular figure at West Ham in spite of his injury woes, he’s still not necessarily a first-choice centre-forward for Slaven Bilic’s outfit, with fierce competition for one out-and-out striker role.

The Hammers also have Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate and Nikica Jelavic all vying for a starting berth in east London.

Back at St James’ Park, rumours are gathering pace that promising young striker Ayoze Perez will be targeted by several big clubs in January, so if the Spaniard is plucked, the door could well be open.

Meanwhile McClaren’s preference to play with a 4-4-2 formation would also increase the chances of more playing time, especially with Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse struggling for form.

It’s all hypothetical, but the scope is there for Carroll to re-establish himself where it all began and thereby increase the 26-year-old’s chances of breaking back into the England set up in a pivotal season.

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