RYAN Taylor’s just weeks away from a long-awaited comeback for Newcastle United.
Taylor has been sidelined for the past two years after twice rupturing the cruciate ligament in his right knee.
But the 29-year-old has been doing light training for the past few weeks.
Taylor is pencilled in to return to full training later this month ahead of an anticipated playing comeback next month.
The utility player - who travelled to New Zealand for the club’s two-game tour of the country - will offer United manager Alan Pardew an extra option in both defence and attack.
And Pardew is looking forward to having the popular Liverpudlian again available.
“He’s a great player for us and a great person,” Pardew said.
“We think he’s about two or three weeks away from full-contract training, so maybe four or five weeks.”
Taylor spoke at length to SportMail about his long spell out earlier this summer.
And the former England Under-21 international, best known for his “over the wall” free kicks, has been grateful for the support of his family, team-mates and Newcastle’s fans.
While keen to get back playing as quickly as possible, Taylor knows he can’t cut any corners given his experience.
Speaking about the backing he has had from supporters, he said: “It does make you want to come back even quicker, but you just can’t.
“It makes me want to get back on the pitch and say thanks in the way I would rather as opposed to going on the pitch (after the Cardiff City game in May) like that.”
Taylor’s last appearance for the club came in a Europa League qualifier against Atromitos in August 2012, when he ruptured his cruciate ligament.
He suffered a recurrence of the injury while training last year.
Taylor has had two operations at the world-renowned clinic of Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado.