SIEM de Jong is hoping he can win his fitness race in time to face his lucky side Manchester City on Sunday.
The Dutch international has been struggling with a calf injury, and is rated doubtful for the Premier League opener this weekend.
But he is desperate to shake off the problem and line up against the defending champions in front of a packed St James’s Park – and hopefully continue his goalscoring streak against them.
De Jong played twice against City for Ajax in the Champions League, scoring three times to prevent the big-spending Blues from progressing beyond the group stage.
The 25-year-old scored the opener in a 3-1 in Amsterdam, then bagged a brace in a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium a month later.
And he’s love to replicate those feats and help himself to a first competitive goal for Newcastle this weekend, having already shown he has an eye for goal in pre-season, netting against Oldham Athletic and Sydney.
“I played two times against City in the Champions League,” De Jong said.
“I got three goals in two games and we won the first one and then drew against them in Manchester.
“For us, we left them in fourth place in the group, and it was a really hard group, so for us it was a great time.
“Hopefully I can get some goals against City again on my debut.”
De Jong’s pre-season has been curtailed by injury since he limped out of Newcastle’s friendly against Wellington, their second game of a pre-season tour in New Zealand.
Originally suffering from a toe problem, it is the attacker’s calf which has seen him miss out the rest of United’s warm-up campaign.
He took a light part in the open training session on Tuesday at St James’s Park, prompting manager Alan Pardew to hope that he may be fit for Sunday’s clash against Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Cheik Tiote is Pardew’s other major fitness doubt.
H Gillingham’s players are already plotting Newcastle’s Capital One Cup downfall, according to manager Peter Taylor.
Newcastle have been drawn away to Gillingham – who knocked Yeovil Town out of the competition this week – in the second round of the competition.
“To get the draw was fantastic,” said Taylor, Gillingham’s experienced manager.
“It’s lovely for our supporters to see a Premier League team as big as Newcastle United, and I’m absolutely delighted for everybody.”
“We were pleased with the win at Yeovil, but that’s what makes it even better with all the boys talking about Newcastle.
“We have a big game Saturday, but it just gives you that extra buzz. We’ll really look forward to it.”.