FABRICIO Coloccini and Steven Taylor are set to make a timely return for Newcastle United against Sunderland.
The club’s defensive lynchpins are pencilled in to rejoin training later this week.
And manager Alan Pardew’s confident Coloccini and Taylor – two of the first names on his teamsheet – will be fit for the Wear-Tyne derby on October 21.
However, goalkeeper Tim Krul – who has missed Newcastle’s last seven games through injury – is doubtful for the Sunderland game.
“They’ve got a very good chance,” Pardew told the Gazette. “They should train this week, with a bit of luck. That’ll help.”
Coloccini suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem in the club’s Capital One Cup defeat at Old Trafford last week, while Taylor hurt his calf in the 2-2 draw at Reading the weekend before last.
Pardew’s desperate to have his influential captain and homegrown talent Taylor back for United’s visit to the Stadium of Light.
“You look at certain players for this game, and they know what it’s about,” he added.
“We’re going to have to make sure we get a team out there which knows how important this game is to the fans in terms of the passion and commitment of the team.
“I hope we can really give (the fans) something to cheer about at Sunderland.
“Obviously, it’s a huge game for the city. We know how much it means, and we’ve reminded the players.
“We wanted to win the (Manchester United) game and go into it in really good fettle, but we haven’t.
“We have to go in there, roll our sleeves up and give it a go.”
Meahnwhile, Krul – who suffered an elbow injury on international duty with Holland last month – faces a battle to be involved on Wearside.
Asked whether Krul would be fit to face Sunderland, Pardew added: “I’m not so sure.”
Coloccini, Pardew’s captain, and Taylor were missed at the back on Sunday, when Newcastle were beaten 3-0 by Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side scored two early goals from set-pieces.
Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra lost their markers to head home from corners.
And Pardew was frustrated at the lapses in concentration which left his team chasing the game.
After going 2-0 behind, Newcastle fought back and enjoyed an equal share of possession.
But they couldn’t turn that into goals, and Tom Cleverley ended any hopes of a comeback with a third goal for the visitors.
“Our fans will go home disappointed,” said Pardew.
“You look at the stats – the possession’s the same, and we’ve had the same amount of shots on goal – and yet we’ve lost 3-0.
“It just shows the concentration at set plays is crucial. A lot of our game was really good, but the start cost us.”