- Europa League
Ranger back in the Newcastle fold
With winter taking a grip, Alan Pardew has elected to bring Nile Ranger in from the cold and he will start for Newcastle at Bordeaux on Thursday.
Ranger appeared to be on his way out of Newcastle following a string of off-field problems, notably a conviction for assault. He also angered the club with his persistent lateness for training, but the forward has smartened up his act in recent weeks and Pardew will hand him a chance.
"Nile will start," Pardew said. "I think he's probably the story of the last two or three months in terms of a positive. He's been out of the papers, he's been on time for the last eight to 10 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.
"And that's all it is for him at the moment, a chance, and we hope he takes it. We know he's got talent. Hopefully he puts it in on the pitch."
Newcastle are already through to the knockout stages of the Europa League, but a win in Bordeaux will guarantee their progression as group winners.
Newcastle player to watch:
Nile Ranger really is the only man for this. It seemed his Newcastle career was over but after bucking up his ideas he has been given the chance. He has always been a player of great potential, could he now be ready to realise it?
Bordeaux player to watch:
David Bellion will be well known to Newcastle, following a spell at their fierce rivals Sunderland. He netted in the recent win over Maritimo and will be focused on adding to that against the Magpies.
Betting: Both sides are already through, but a draw will guarantee Bordeaux top spot. Both sides are likely to be much changed but take the Girondins to avenge their defeat to Newcastle earlier in the group. A half-time, full-time result is 7/4 with bet365.