TIM Krul’s confident he’ll be ready to face Manchester City - after making his long-awaited comeback.
The goalkeeper played 45 minutes of Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw against Rangers on Tuesday night.
Krul had been out since April, when he dislocated his shoulder in the Tyne-Wear derby.
The 25-year-old - who had surgery on his shoulder - will now face Braga at St James’s Park on Saturday ahead of the club’s first Premier League game of the season at the City of Manchester Stadium on August 19.
And Krul believes he is physically and mentally ready to return to competitive action after a gruelling pre-season.
“The mental side of the injury is now out of my mind,” Krul said.
“I’ve had a great couple of weeks training with all of the lads.
“It has been all about getting the confidence of making a few good saves again.
“You can train when you’ve been injured, but the best test is always to get back out there and train again. I’ve just been focusing on the game and making saves.
“I’ve been training hard to get back in time.
“I’ve done two weeks back here, and obviously went into that on the back of some hard work on Portugal.
“I was working one on one with the physios in Portugal, so I was in good condition.”
Krul faced a penalty from Rangers captain five minutes into his comeback after Fabricio Coloccini fouled Nicky Clark.
The Holland international almost got a hand to McCulloch’s spot kick, which was cancelled out by a 90th-minute equaliser from United substitute Shola Ameobi.
“It happens, but in friendly games it doesn’t really matter,” said Krul, who was replaced at the break by Rob Elliot, who deputised in his absence last season.
“The important thing is getting through the pre-season, and getting through the training. I’m just glad to get through that first game.
“The Premier League games will be a totally different story, but it was a great atmosphere at Ibrox.
“It was just so nice to be back on the pitch and playing football once again.
“It’s a different feeling to training. It’s nice to get 45 minutes under my belt.”
Krul’s return is on schedule thanks to the diligence of the club’s medical staff and physios.
“Everything has worked to plan so far,” he added.
“The schedule I’ve had with the physios has worked well. It’s been spot on.
“They kept me back at one stage because the training was going well, but it’s all about the new season now.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew won’t risk Krul against Man City if he feels he isn’t close to 100 per cent fitness, such will be his importance to the cause over the course of the coming season.
“Looking at Tim, he’s been out for a long time,” said Pardew.
“He is one of the best keepers in the world, so we want him up to speed. That means we have to be careful.
“We must make sure that he returns properly, and is fully fit for the season.”