Ranger could rejoin his ex-boss at Birmingham

23 July 2011 08:00
FORMER Newcastle manager Chris Hughton is considering making a bid to take Nile Ranger to Birmingham City.[LNB] Hughton took over at St Andrews last month after Alex McLeish's controversial move to Midlands rivals Aston Villa - his first job since his acrimonious departure from St James' Park last December.[LNB] Hughton is working hard to prepare his new team for life outside the Premier League, and having watched some of his first-team players depart for pastures new, the Blues boss is keen to add new faces to his squad.[LNB] Hughton handed Ranger his Newcastle debut against West Brom in the club's opening Championship game in August 2008, before giving him his Premier League debut last October against Wigan.[LNB] Two days prior to Hughton's sacking, Ranger signed a new five-year deal at St James' Park, but his future on Tyneside is now in doubt after current boss Alan Pardew revealed the club would listen to offers to the striker.[LNB] Blackpool have already had a £1.5m bid for Ranger accepted, but the 20-year-old failed to agree terms with the Seasiders and returned to Tyneside.[LNB] It could be a different story if the Blues came in for Ranger, as the prospect of linking up with his former boss could appeal to the young forward.[LNB] Whether a bid come in from the Blues remains to be seen though, with Hughton under strict instructions from owner Carson Yeung that players must be sold before he can buy anyone.[LNB] In the mean time, Hughton is still working hard to identify potential signings and the former Magpies boss refused to rule out a move for Ranger, who is currently on tour with the Reserves in Holland.[LNB] Hughton told the Birmingham Mail: "Every day we are working on things and making inquiries about bringing players in, and there will be additions.[LNB] "As he's (Ranger) one of my old players then there is always going to be speculation like this.[LNB] "As I said, it's ongoing and we are looking at various options."[LNB] Meanwhile, despite uncertainty surrounding his future at Newcastle, midfielder Joey Barton has revealed he is already looking towards the season opener against Arsenal on August 13.[LNB] Barton is currently on tour with the reserves in Holland after his application for access into the US for the first-team's tour of the country - they play Orlando City tonight - was denied due to his previous criminal convictions.[LNB] It's been a turbulent pre-season for the 28-year-old off the field, but Barton continued his good form on it when he scored his second goal in as many games in the reserves' 2-2 draw with Hollandia on Thursday night.[LNB] Barton insisted he wasn't worried about missing out on first-team preparations in the US, saying it didn't matter as long as he was focused on being ready for the Magpies' trip to the Emirates in three weeks' time.[LNB] He said: "I'm feeling quite sharp and I felt really strong as the Hollandia game on. I could easily have played 90 minutes but as it is, I got a nice 65 minutes under my belt, had a lot of touches of the ball and really enjoyed it.[LNB] "Every season's a big season at a club like Newcastle, there's no time to rest on your laurels. You've got to keep pushing on and we've invested in a few players who all look to be good additions to the squad.[LNB] "That's pre-season and whether you're out with the lads in Holland, like I am now, or with the first-team in America. I think the key is being right for August 13 against Arsenal. That's the one everyone's aiming at."[LNB] n Following the pitch invasion during last week's friendly game with Darlington, Newcastle have restricted the sale of tickets for away matches including the friendly with Leeds United on July 31.[LNB] While the club has taken the action to stop Premier League tickets going on general sale, only two games last season - Wigan and Blackburn - were made available to the public due to allocations being filled by members and season ticket holders.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo