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Pardew: Ranger not back in fold yet

Alan Pardew has said striker Nile Ranger still has some way to go to get back into the Newcastle first team picture.

Pardew was watching as 21-year-old Ranger netted his first goal of the season for the club's Under-21 side in a 2-2 draw against Sunderland on Monday.

It led to speculation that Ranger, who had spells on loan at Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday last season, could be recalled for Thursday's Europa League game against Maritimo.

But Toon manager Pardew dismissed that idea, saying: "He has got a lot of making up to do, to me and the group. But he's fit for the first time, and he's been on time for training.

"He is beginning to hopefully put himself in order and be a professional footballer. So at the moment it is good news, and hopefully it stays like that."

Last month, Pardew said he did not believe Ranger would ever get back into the Magpies' first team.

His comments came a week after Ranger was given a 12-month conditional discharge after admitting assaulting two police officers last August.

He was also ordered to pay £750 to each officer, but was cleared of two counts of actual bodily harm at a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.

Speaking at a fans' dinner, Pardew indicated that he was losing patience with the player, saying: "I think I've been fair with him. This guy is late so often it is unbelievable. He's still at this football club and we're still trying to do something with him."

Meanwhile, the manager has also confirmed that Xisco, another striker on the fringes of the Newcastle first team, will not feature against Maritimo because of injury.

Xisco, signed from Deportivo La Coruna in 2008, is in the final year of his contract and is expected to depart next summer.

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