By Paul Brown
Star striker Gabby Agbonlahor is ready to give top-flight defenders a host of nasty nightmares as he roared out: "I'm fit and raring to go!"
Agbonlahor faced a long lay-off after injuring his knee against Chicago Fire on the USA Tour.
He returned to action ahead of schedule, coming on as an impact substitute in the impressive draw against Newcastle at St James Park.
Agbonlahor says he now feels pumped and ready to begin his season with a bang, starting against Swansea next weekend.
He said: "It feels good to be back. It's been a tough five or six weeks being out and watching the boys start the season. But it's good to be fit again now.
"I think every season that I've been playing I've always been available for the first game so it was a bit of a shock to be out.
"It's always frustrating being injured - at whatever point of the season - and not being able to help the lads. But it was more frustrating for me because it was the beginning of the season when you're raring to go.
"It's not a great experience doing your rehab and not being able to make a contribution. But I'm fit and ready now and really raring to go.
"From my perspective too, it's good to come back before schedule."
Agbonlahor is ready to fight for a starting spot in the team after being impressed for much of the game as a spectator in the north-east encounter with Alan Pardew's men.
He added: "I thought we did well at Newcastle. It was a good performance overall.
"We were unlucky not to win the game in all honesty and we probably had a few more chances than them. But I think if we look at that at the end of the season it's going to be a big point.
"I thought the boys did well. We dug in and showed them we have a good team spirit."
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