TROUBLED Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger has joined Barnsley on loan and could make his debut in today’s South Yorkshire derby against Doncaster Rovers.
Ranger appeared in Newcastle Magistrates Court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to assault and drunk and disorderly behaviour.
He was remanded on conditional bail and told to stay out of Newcastle city centre at night as part of his bail conditions.
The 20-year-old denies two counts of common assault and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a scuffle in Newcastle city centre in the early hours of Saturday, August 27.
He was arrested after police found a 33-year-old man unconscious outside Cosy Joe’s bar in the city during the early hours. He was later charged for the alleged assault of two revellers and two police officers.
Ranger also pleaded not guilty to being drunk and disorderly on Sunday, October 30 after allegedly arguing with his girlfriend in the city’s Cathedral Square near a nightclub.
District Judge Stephen Earl warned the striker to stay out of the city centre betweeen 9.0pm and 7.0am until his next appearance in court on January 13.
The restriction meant he would have been unable to play for Newcastle if selected for home games against West Bromwich Albion on December 21 and Manchester United on January 4.
Aged 20, the London-born striker has made 58 appearances for the Magpies and scored three goals but has not been been involved in the first team this season.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew hopes the temporary switch away from the north-east will help the player, who has represented England Under-19s, cope with his off-field pressures.
“This is a guy who has got real talent and he needs to understand that there is a professionalism that comes with his football,” said Pardew. “I think he does understand that now.”
Ranger will stay on loan at Barnsley until January 14 – the day after his next scheduled court appearance.
Barnsley manager Keith Hill swooped for Ranger after losing striker Andy Gray through suspension. Several other clubs including Birmingham, Watford and Bristol City had expressed an interest in his services.
Big-match preview: Page 28.