STEVE BRUCE claims the decision to re-sign Andy Carroll was a “no-brainer”, and is confident the returning striker will have a major influence on and off the pitch this season.

Eight-and-a-half years after leaving Newcastle United in a £35m move to Liverpool, Carroll made an emotional return to Tyneside yesterday, signing a one-year deal.

The striker remains around a month away from full fitness – next month’s trip to his former club, Liverpool, has been pencilled in as a possible return date – but Newcastle’s medical staff are happy with the early stages of his recuperation from summer ankle surgery.

With Carroll having agreed to what is effectively a pay-as-you-play deal, Bruce is adamant there is very little risk to yesterday’s agreement. The Newcastle boss expects the 30-year-old to have a positive impact on the pitch later in the season, and is also confident he will be a beneficial presence in the dressing room.

Bruce said: “It all just came from a conversation with Andy really. He was desperate to come back, like myself I suppose, the big question is, ‘Can we get him back quickly and keep him fit?’ If he stays fit, a fit Andy Carroll is as good as you get. He’s determined to be successful here at his hometown club. It was a no-brainer really.

“He’s been in first this morning. He was back on the grass at West Ham in a running capacity. I’m not going to put a time scale on it (his return). He’s not going to be seen in the next two or three weeks, but he’s here for the season so when the winter sets in, let’s hope we can see Andy Carroll.

“He’s not young Andy Carroll anymore. He’s at that veteran stage, but when the club sold him for a record fee, he was the best pound for pound centre-forward there was in the country. He can do a lot off the pitch and that’s why we bought him as well, to give us that hand in the dressing room.

“He doesn’t have anything to prove as a footballer, when he’s at his best he’s unplayable. When he got that move to Liverpool, he was unplayable at times because of his physicality, his pace, his power and his technique. He can help in the dressing room too. He’s a mature Andy Carroll now and when I spoke to him, all he talked about was his desire to come back and play for Newcastle.”

While Carroll will not be involved when Newcastle kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Arsenal on Sunday, Bruce cannot wait to experience a competitive match from the dug-out at St James’ Park.

A number of supporters’ groups are still planning to boycott their side’s season-opener, but having sensed a shift in the mood after Newcastle recruited five players in the space of three weeks, Bruce is hoping any lingering anti-Mike Ashley sentiment does not negatively affect his players’ efforts on Sunday.

“I said it last week, everybody is entitled to boycott if that’s what they want to do. They pay their hard-earned money and they’re welcome to their opinion. I don’t want it to upset the team.

“I hope that I and the team will give them something to shout about. I’m sure they enjoyed seeing the new players, and they’ll get behind the team, that’s never wavered.

“We didn’t get off to a good start last year, but the Geordie faithful were patient. I hope it doesn’t affect the team, that’s all I can focus on. I want to give them a team they can associate with and be proud of.”

DeAndre Yedlin will miss Sunday’s game after failing to recover from groin injury, but Bruce is unlikely to hand Emil Krafth a starting spot as the Swedish defender only completed his £5m move from Amiens yesterday. As a result, Javier Manquillo is likely to play at right wing-back.