Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Barrow on Standby for Gateshead Return after Injury Fight

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Barrow on Standby for Gateshead Return after Injury Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BOWRON

SCOTT Barrow hopes to put his injury worries behind him and return to Gateshead's matchday squad today for the visit of Braintree Town.

The 29-year-old has not kicked a ball this season after breaking a metatarsal during the summer but is now back in manager Steve Watson's plans.

The Welshman, like former Newcastle defender Mike Williamson, won't be rushed back, although both could be in the 16.

Both have trained for the past couple of weeks and, while short on match practice, are the most experienced players in the squad.

With the average age of the 16 on the team sheet in last week's win at Ebbsfleet just 22, Barrow and Williamson will add nous and knowhow.

Gateshead have exceeded expectations, winning half of their 10 games and losing just three - all by single-goal margins.

It suggests pre-season talk of relegation from the top-tier of nonleague football was premature and, on early-season evidence, well wide of the mark.

Barrow, who was handed the captaincy this season, is looking up.

He said: "It's been a great start by the lads, one which has surprised a lot of people, but we will keep our feet firmly on the ground.

"We'll be a quarter of the way through the season after today's game and if we win it we'll probably be in the top seven.

"That's a play-off position and one we are targeting. I firmly believe we'll be up there come the end of the season.

"We have big players coming back, including Williamson and Luke Armstrong, who has been brilliant on loan from Middlesbrough.

"When everyone is available, which hasn't been the case so far, we'll also have a strong bench, which is important.

"The manager changes personnel and formation on a regular basis and everyone has a job to do and the chance to contribute."

Braintree make the long trek north bottom of the table with just three points from a possible 30 and are the only side still searching for their first win. …

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