Toon hand Ranger fresh chance
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has confirmed that Nile Ranger will make his first start for the club since April 2010 against Bordeaux on Thursday.
Ranger, 21, has been involved in a number of negative incidents since joining the Magpies in 2009. Persistently late for training, the forward has also had to make court appearances for assault, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.
In March of this year, Ranger also faced a sanction from the Football Association for making a homophobic comment on Twitter. Two months ago, he was issued a final warning by the club and told it would take a minimum of six weeks' good behaviour before he could return to first-team training.
Now satisfied with his change in attitude, Pardew described the turnaround as one of the biggest positives at the club in recent months, crediting the player's application.
"Nile will start. I think he's probably the story of the last two or three months in terms of a positive," he said. "He's been out of the papers, he's been on time for the last eight to ten weeks and he's put in application on the training ground.
"I've never said to anyone: 'It's all over - you're not getting a chance'. If you stick to the rules and put the ethic in I'll give you a chance."
Ranger is one of a number of expected changes for Europa League tie ahead of Newcastle's visit to Fulham on Monday, and Pardew said he hopes the striker will be able to take the chance afforded to him.
"And that's all it is for him at the moment - a chance - and we hope he takes it," he added. "We know he's got talent. Hopefully he puts it in on the pitch."