SIEM de Jong is looking to make up for lost time – by keeping Newcastle United in the Premier League.
De Jong made a goalscoring comeback against Swansea last weekend, but the Dutchman’s strike could not prevent a seventh successive defeat.
And 14th-placed Newcastle head to Leicester City on Saturday in desperate need of points.
De Jong – who played 90 minutes for the Magpies’ Under-21s against Derby on Tuesday night – will be on the bench at the King Power Stadium as he is not considered fit enough to start a Premier League match.
“I’ll try to help the team as much as I can,” said de Jong, who could be in contention to start next weekend’s home match against West Bromwich Albion. I hope to get some more minutes in. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t think if I’m 90 per cent or 95 per cent that I can help the team (from the start).
“That’s why I need to build up slowly to be ready for the minutes I need to play.
“If I play 90 minutes now, I wouldn’t help the team as much as I could if I waited just another week maybe.”
De Jong, whose first season on Tyneside has been best by a series of injuries, says Newcastle’s players must keep their focus ahead of the match.
He said: “We know how important it is. We have to try to be at our best to win the game, and not focus too much on the situation, just the game itself.”