ANDY CARROLL will return to the Newcastle United squad for tomorrow’s trip to West Ham United, but the game will come too soon for both Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune.

Carroll missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Wolves because of a groin injury, but having returned to training earlier this week, the striker will be part of the squad at the London Stadium.

He will not feature in the starting line-up, although Steve Bruce is pondering replacing Joelinton with Dwight Gayle, but will be desperate to come on off the bench against his former club.

Bruce said: “Andy has trained the last couple of days so he’ll come into the squad as long as he stays okay. It’s still too early for Matt Ritchie, and that goes for Fabian Schar as well.

“We hope he can string a few weeks together on the training ground. It’s a groin injury, nothing to do with his ankle. I’m sure we’ll keep asking the question because it’s Andy, but we hope he’s going to be okay and he’s available for this weekend.”

Schar is also closing in on a return to action, and could be available to face Bournemouth in eight days’ time.

Lejeune played for the Under-23s against Middlesbrough at the start of this week, and has been pencilled in for another second-string outing against Aston Villa on Monday.

Bruce said: “Fabian could be available for Bournemouth. If not, we’ll be into the international break. He’s been sore with his knee, but we don’t think it’s too serious.

“He (Lejeune) will play again at Aston Villa on Monday. We’re hoping he will get 75 or 80 (minutes), if he comes through that we’ve got another two weeks of the international break and hopefully he’ll then be available.”

Sean Longstaff is unavailable as he starts a three-match suspension, and while Newcastle opted not to appeal against the midfielder’s dismissal in last weekend’s draw with Wolves, Bruce still feels it was a harsh red card.

He said: “I understand the rules, but feel it’s really harsh on the lad. We understand if you go to ground now and catch your opponent, you’re in danger of a red card. He played the ball clearly, but I guess his leg was in a dangerous position.”