GABRIEL Obertan is close to a return to fitness after missing the start of Newcastle United’s season.
And defender Mike Williamson should also be fit for the club’s visit to Villa Park on September 14.
Winger Obertan has been sidelined with a slight hamstring tear.
But the 24-year-old’s expected to return to training next week to give United manager Alan Pardew an extra option for the club’s Premier League game against Aston Villa.
Williamson, meanwhile, also missed Newcastle’s first four games with a minor injury.
Pardew is now hoping the club’s international contingent return to Tyneside unscathed late next week ahead of the Villa match.
“I think Gabby will come back to us, and Willo will be fit,” Pardew said.
“As long as we don’t pick up any knocks in training, we should have a good squad going to Villa.
“We’re in a lot better health with the result.”
Obertan was linked with a loan move to Championship club Nottingham Forest last month.
It is understood the former Manchester United player – who is on the fringes at Newcastle – was interested in a spell away from St James’s Park to get some games under his belt.
But Obertan is set to stay on Tyneside.
With United having failed to add more than one senior player to the squad this summer, the club can ill-afford to loan any senior players.
Williamson won’t be the only centre-half available again to Pardew at Villa Park. Long-serving Steven Taylor also returns from suspension.
Taylor has now served a three-game ban for his dismissal in the season-opener at Manchester City.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has deputised for the 27-year-old, who apologised to the club and its supporters for the red card.
Taylor was dismissed for catching Sergio Aguero with his forearm.
Pardew has seven players away on international duty.
Sammy and Shola Ameobi are on duty with England’s Under-21s and Nigeria respectively.
Paul Dummett (Wales), Adam Campbell (England Under-19s), Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko (both France) and Cheik Tiote (Ivory Coast) are also away with their countries.
Dummett is hoping to make his senior debut for Wales. The 21-year-old was a late call-up to the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Macedonia.