FABRICIO Coloccini is close to making a return to full training – but Newcastle United’s captain won’t be fit to face Sunderland.
Coloccini could be back on the practice field next week ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby at St James’s Park on February 1.
But United manager Alan Pardew doesn’t expect the 31-year-old, who he says is “desperate” to get back on the pitch, to be available until later next month.
Coloccini suffered a knee injury in Newcastle’s 2-1 New Year’s Day defeat to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
And the 31-year-old is making good progress in his rehabilitation.
“I think he’ll return to training, maybe the Sunderland week,” Pardew said.
“He certainly won’t play against Sunderland. Maybe the week after, or maybe the week after that.”
The Sunderland game is followed by a visit to Chelsea on February 8 and a home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur four days later.
“It’s frustrating for Colo,” said Pardew, who will have Mathieu Debuchy back from suspension for the January 28 game against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
“Colo’s desperate to play football – he just wants to play.”
Coloccini, a near-ever present in his first four seasons at Newcastle, has been troubled by a series of injuries over the past year and a half.
The Argentina international had a spell out with a groin problem earlier in the campaign.
Meanwhile, Montpellier president Louis Nicollin has ruled out selling Newcastle target Remy Cabella this month.
Nicollin is adamant that the 23-year-old attacking midfielder will stay at the club until the summer, when he will listen to offers.
“I would prefer that he leaves on the July 1, or later,” Nicollin told RTL in France.
“Then, and only then, if there are good offers, that will allow us to have a great next season, especially if we are in Ligue 1.
“There is, however, no question about it happening now. I have heard everything in the last days. It is all baseless.”
Montpellier coach Rolland Courbis has suggested Cabella is being lined up as a replacement for Yohan Cabaye, who is wanted by Paris Saint-Germain.