Bridges Booster For Reid

Last updated : 06 August 2003 By Kevin Markey
Bridges, who is 25 tomorrow, was given an early birthday present when he marked his return from eight months of injury hell with a 26-minute substitute appearance in United's 2-0 defeat at Hull on Friday. Bridges was given a hero's welcome when he ran on against The Tigers.

However, Reid is not the only manager carefully monitoring his recovery from injury as Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson is understood to be preparing a bid for the striker once he has proved his fitness.

Nevertheless, Bridges is adamant that he is going nowhere after making just 59 starts for United since signing for £5m in 1999.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "There's a lot of speculation flying around, but I've only had one season here and I want to stay and prove something.

"I've had all the Newcastle stuff from all the lads but it's not something that interests me.

"All I'm interested in is the fact that the gaffer's offered me a new contract. We're talking now and we'll see how that goes. I'm happy down here and I don't want to go anywhere."

He appeared to have the world at his feet when he was called into Kevin Keegan's England squad at just 21.

But a combination of calf and Achilles injuries ruined his 2000-01 season and he was forced to have a potentially career-ending operation on his knee.

"It was good to be back on Friday," he said. "It wasn't the result we wanted, but pre-season games don't count for anything.

"The gaffer said that we all worked hard, but I was just pleased to be back out on the pitch after everything that's happened.

"I can remember when the gaffer gave me my first game at Sunderland, and playing on Friday night was a bit like that again.

"We had a bit of a laugh about that before the game, it was a bit like the good old times I suppose.

"The butterflies were back before kick-off, but that's good and I'm delighted to have got back out onto the pitch playing.

"I'm not thinking about all of the injuries, I’ve just got to look to the future now. What's happened has happened and I've just got to get on with it."

The Geordie didn't get a chance to show the prolific goalscoring touch that gained 21-goals for the Whites and fired them into the Champions League in a remarkable first full season at the club, over three full seasons ago.