MASSADIO Haidara’s looking to make up for lost time at Newcastle United – and help the club secure its Premier League status.
Haidara thought he season was over when Wigan Athletic’s Callum McManaman caught him with a reckless challenge at the DW Stadium last month.
The 20-year-old was fortunate to escape serious injury, while fallout from tackle, which went unpunished, has led the Football Association to review its disciplinary procedures.
Haidara – who made his comeback against Benfica last week – was an unused substitute in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby defeat to Sunderland.
And the January signing is set for a recall to Alan Pardew’s Premier League starting XI at The Hawthorns on Saturday, with first-choice left-back Davide Santon sidelined with a hamstring injury.
“It’s a real pleasure to be back from injury – I really think that my durability will be better now,” Haidara said.
“I thought my season was over after what happened at Wigan, but I’m delighted to be able to play again this season.
“The team really needs all of the players available for the last few games, and I’m ready and available to help the team.”
The Sunderland defeat – Newcastle’s worst Tyne-Wear derby loss in 34 years – has heaped more pressure on United manager Alan Pardew and his players, who have just five games to secure the 13th-placedd club’s top-flight status.
Haidara, for his part, is confident there will be a positive reaction against West Bromwich Albion.
“Of course we were very, very disappointed on Sunday,” said Haidara, who this week met pupils from Stanhope Primary School, in South Shields, at a Show Racism the Red Card event.
“The players, the staff, and everyone at the club are disappointed, because we all know that it was a very important game for Newcastle.
“We needed the three points, but the first thing we do now is think about the West Brom game.
“We really need to win this game – we want to win it for the fans.
“If we can do that and stay in the Premier League this season, we will look to end it as high up the table as possible.”
Meanwhile, the schoolchildren from Stanhope Primary School took part in an innovative anti-racism workshop at St James’s Park yesterday.
They became journalists for the day, which ended with them asking a panel of past and present footballers, including Haidara and his Newcastle team-mate Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, about racism in football and society.
Haidara said: “I think it’s a very interesting event.
“It’s a way to educate the children, and to help them know how to react to racist incidents.
“It’s something you face in life, although I’m lucky, I’ve never experienced it personally myself.”