Simpson ready for Magpies return

The full-back, who has been sidelined for six months with an ankle

problem, stepped up his return with a run out in a

behind-closed-doors clash with Aston Villa on Tuesday. He was able

to get 75 much-needed minutes under his belt in that contest and

has experienced no adverse reaction to his first outing of the

season. Simpson is likely to be held back in the reserves until he

recovers his full match sharpness, but the 23-year-old is delighted

to be back in the frame. “I’m just buzzing to be back, and

hopefully I can kick on from here,” Simpson told the Evening

Chronicle. “I’ve been training for three weeks, and to finally get

out and come through with no niggles was brilliant. I felt good. “I

didn’t feel anything, or suffer any other problems. Sometimes when

you come back from injury, you feel your hamstring, or your

muscles. “I’m just glad to have done 75 minutes. I’ve never really

been injured in my career, maybe a month at the most, so it’s great

to be back. “I’m just looking forward to getting back now and

playing in the Premier League.” Simpson admits the last few months

have been among the hardest of his career, with it not immediately

apparent when he sustained the knock that he would be out for so

long. “It’s been a bit of a test, but it’s made me stronger, and

made me want it even more,” he said. “I knew there was something

wrong with my ankle, but I didn’t know how serious it was. “I

thought I’d only be out a couple of months, but it’s turned out to

be six months.”