TIM Krul is close to making his comeback from injury.
The goalkeeper has been sidelined since April, when he dislocated his shoulder in the stunning 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby defeat.
Krul – who had surgery on the injury – is near the end of his rehabilitation programme.
He was put through an intensive training programme on the club’s pre-season tour of Portugal. And the 25-year-old is on course to play in a couple of Newcastle’s friendlies – the club play Rangers and Braga next month – though he won’t be ready for tonight’s game.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is confident Krul will be fully fit in time to face Manchester City on August 19.
“Tim’s had a tough week,” Pardew said. “He’s come through that, and we’ll have to see where he is. But I’ve got no worries about him at all.”
Rob Elliot – who deputised for Krul during his absence through injury last season – has played in all of Newcastle five warm-up games.
Young goalkeeper Jak Alnwick, who signed a new contract in the summer, played 45 minutes against Rio Ave in Portugal.