SIEM de Jong left the field with mixed emotions after making a goalscoring comeback for Newcastle United.
De Jong – who had surgery on a collapsed lung in February – netted late in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Swansea City.
I’m not sure he’s ready to start but he could get longer that 20 minutes at Leicester CityJohn Carver
While the 26-year-old was relieved to finally be back on the pitch, he was bitterly disappointed at a result which left the club teetering above the Premier League’s relegation zone.
De Jong – whose last competitive goal had come for former club Ajax against Cambuur in March last year – will top up his fitness tomorrow with a run-out either for the club’s Under-21s away to Derby County or in a behind-closed-doors fixture.
But he will NOT be fit enough to start away to Leicester City on Saturday.
United head coach Carver said: “I’m not sure he’s ready to start, but he could get longer than 20 (minutes) at Leicester.”
De Jong – who had a long spell out earlier in the campaign with a torn thigh muscle – has labelled this season as the “worst” of his career because of his injuries.
But he could yet make an important contribution to a team which has struggled for goals in the absence of the suspended Papiss Demba Cisse.
De Jong volley a cross from Jack Colback past Lukasz Fabianski two miuntes from time.
“I was glad that I put it in,” he said. “I’m glad to be back on the pitch. Hopefully, next time it’ll be for the points.”
Reflecting on his comeback, de Jong added: “The most important thing was to get points, and we didn’t.
“I feel sad about that, but a little bit happy about being back on the pitch. It’s not about me, it’s about the team.”
Carver felt de Jong’s comeback was the main positive to come out of the the club’s seventh successive defeat.
“The shining light was getting him back on the pitch,” he said. “You saw the quality he has got.”