Massadio Haidara aiming to return for Championship opener and says Newcastle must achieve immediate promotion

St James Park

The forgotten full-back has not played since October.

Forgotten Newcastle United defender Massadio Haidara has said, as quoted by the Shields Gazette, that he is hoping to be fit for the club's Championship opener and has suggested that the players owe it to the club to achieve immediate promotion.

The 23-year-old has endured a horrible personal campaign due to injury and has managed just seven first-team appearances, the last of which came in mid-October.

Haidara has been little more than a bit-part player at St. James' Park since his arrival three-and-a-half years ago, and has made just 23 Premier League starts in that time.

However, he would surely have been a useful option for Steve McClaren and Rafael Benitez this term, particularly in the final months of the campaign when the club was suffering something of a defensive injury crisis.

The Frenchman has talked of his struggles to overcome his injury issues this season, and also claimed that the players owe it to the club to make up for their dismal relegation by securing promotion at the first attempt next season.

Haidara said, as quoted by the Shields Gazette: "For me personally, and for the club, it was not a good season. But now we have to look forward to next season and try to go up straight away. I think that's the minimum we have to do for the club.

"For myself, I will try to come back stronger and to be fit for next season. I started the first seven games and, while I was a little bit frustrated because the results weren't good for us, I was happy for myself because I started all the games.

"Then I had the first injury. I tried to come back too quickly, maybe, and I had another injury and then my season was finished. I think the second one was the worst because I came back after three months out and I'd worked so hard. I'd done everything I could to make sure I came back as soon as possible but maybe I tried to come back too quickly."

Haidara could get more of a look-in at St. James' Park next season, particularly if Dutch international full-back Daryl Janmaat leaves the club during the summer transfer window.

Paul Dummett was generally the Magpies' first-choice left-back this season, but his injury meant that midfielders Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita found themselves playing in the position during Haidara's absence.

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