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A New lease of life for Michael

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Fit-again Michael Newberry is eyeing as much game-time as possible as Newcastle United Under-23s gear up for a hectic end to the calendar year.

Peter Beardsley’s side take on West Bromwich Albion at Whitley Park tonight (7pm kick-off), the first of five successive fixtures on home soil – four of which take place over the next fortnight.

Northern Ireland youth international Newberry returned to action in the Magpies’ 2-1 Premier League Cup win at Colchester United on Monday, having sat out the previous three and a half months with a back injury.

And, after a testing period away from the pitch, the defender is hopeful of building on the 65 minutes he clocked up at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

“Considering I didn’t play a lot last season, and I thought I’d get a bit more game-time with Cal Williams going out on loan, it’s been frustrating,” he told nufc.co.uk. “I had a hairline fracture at the bottom of my back. I went to see a consultant, and he advised me not to do anything for six weeks. For six weeks, I was just resting it and gradually I built it up until I was back outside running and then training again. They couldn’t give me an explanation about why it happened, because it could have been a handful of things.

“The consultant was telling me to look at Christmas time (to return to playing), so I’m ahead of schedule, basically, and I’m happy with that. I was buzzing on Monday – just to be in the squad, more than anything, to be with all the lads. Considering I haven’t played for three and a half months, I thought I did OK.”

After just one win in their five previous outings, the Magpies have now racked up back-to-back victories for the first time in August, Monday’s success following a 6-3 thrashing of Swansea City.

“It’s always a good start when you score six goals against somebody, isn’t it?” said Newberry. “I think we can move on and build as a team. Probably my best friend on the team is Luke Charman, so I was buzzing for him to get the two goals the other night.

“For me, I just want to play as much as I can – home, away, against anybody – I just want to get as much game-time as possible to build my fitness back up.”

Admission at Whitley Park is free for season ticket holders and members, otherwise it’s £3 for adults and £1 concessions.

"I was buzzing on Monday – just to be in the squad, more than anything, to be with all the lads. Considering I haven’t played for three and a half months, I thought I did OK."

Michael Newberry

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