By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Nile Ranger has been handed a chance to resurrect his Newcastle United career after being included in Alan Pardew's squad for Sunday's trip to Southampton.
And the striker - who started his career with the Saints before moving to Tyneside - has revealed how a new, improved attitude and work ethic has put him back into senior contention following his return from injury this month.
Ranger scored on his first Magpies appearance since March when the under-21s drew with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Monday night and put in an eye-catching display in front of his manager, who was watching from the stands.
The 21-year-old has played more than 50 times for Newcastle since making his debut in the Championship title-winning season of 2009/10 but fell out of favour with Pardew and failed to make an appearance in the Barclays Premier League last term.
Part of the reason for that was because of the ex-England under-19 international's time-keeping but having recovered from a knee problem and reported to the training ground on time for the last few weeks, he will travel to St. Mary's this weekend.
"My punctuality hasn't been the best and the gaffer said it would be six weeks of training with the Reserves and that I wouldn't be in his squads until further notice," Ranger admitted in an exclusive nufc.co.uk interview.
"So I've just been getting in on time, training and putting my head down and doing what I do best. I'll just keep putting my head down and grafting."
Last season, Ranger spent time on loan with Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday, helping the Owls gain promotion to the Championship by scoring the crucial second goal in a victory over Wycombe on the final day of the season.
And he said: "I went there because I needed some games, so they called me up and I went there, played a few games and got a few goals.
"I got a goal on the most important day which got them promoted. They were a good team who worked hard but it's always good to come back to your home club."