By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Andros Townsend has revealed he has been playing with an injury in Newcastle’s recent matches.
The England international has not had the impact that the North-east club had hoped for since his £12million move from Tottenham in January.
Townsend, 24, was signed to provide cutting edge to a team with the second-worst goals tally in the Premier League, with Newcastle’s haul of 29 from 30 matches better only than bottom-club Aston Villa.
But injuries have restricted the winger to just five appearances and he has explained that in two of those – against Leicester and Sunderland – he was not even fully fit.
Speaking to the Newcastle website on Friday, Townsend said: “I did rush back for the last two games because they were very important matches.
“But I think now, with the international break, I’ve had a chance to let the hamstring heal even more. Now I’m fully fit, 100 per cent, and raring to go for the last eight games of the season.”
Townsend suffered a hamstring injury towards the end of February, and then missed Newcastle’s defeats to Stoke and Bournemouth before returning as a second-half substitute in Rafael Benitez’s first game in charge, at Leicester.
The 24-year-old has admitted that having nearly a fortnight between the 1-1 draw against Sunderland and United’s next fixture at Norwich on Saturday has been something of a blessing.
“I think it (the break) was exactly what I needed. To have the injury I had and come back within two weeks is rare but I did that and managed to get through both games. But now I’m 100 per cent and hopefully I can stay injury free from now until the end of the season.
“I was brought here to help the club stay in the Premier League and I can’t do that from the treatment table, so I did all I could to get back as soon as I could. Now, like I said, I’m 100 per cent fit and I’m ready to give it my all to help us stay in the Premier League.”
Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League but victory at Carrow Road on Saturday would lift them level on points with 17th-placed Norwich.
In other Newcastle news, the club could play a midfielder in the problem left-back position on Saturday.