Mike Williamson could ease NUFC defensive crisis

MIKE Williamson is closing in on his Newcastle United comeback – but the defender is still a fortnight away from a return.

Manager Alan Pardew was today facing up to a defensive crisis at St James’s Park.

Steven Taylor was yesterday ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, and captain Fabricio Coloccini won’t be fit for Saturday’s visit to Norwich City after injuring his thigh.

And the loss of Taylor will add urgency to Pardew’s attempts to sign a defender in next month’s transfer window.

James Perch will play at Carrow Road, and Pardew must choose who to partner him, with Davide Santon and Tamas Kadar among his slender options.

However, Pardew hopes to have Williamson – who is close to fitness after injuring his ankle at Scunthorpe United in late August – back sooner rather than later.

“Mike Williamson’s back around (the squad),” Pardew told SportMail.

“He’s going to need a lot of work on the training ground to get himself up to speed, but we might have to accelerate that.

“He’s not that close – he’s definitely not playing at Norwich, or maybe the one after that (against Swansea City on December 17).

“We’re going to have to see if we can speed him up a bit.”