MATHIEU Debuchy’s been penciled in for a comeback in the Tyne-Wear derby.
The defender missed Newcastle United’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday with a hamstring injury.
And Debuchy – who is ineligible for the Europa League – won’t be back for Sunday’s home game against Fulham.
United manager Alan Pardew, however, is hopeful he’ll be available for Sunderland’s visit to St James’s Park on April 14.
The result of the Premier League game could go a long way to deciding relegation-threatened club’s fate, and Pardew needs Debuchy fit.
“I don’t think Debuchy will make Fulham,” Pardew said.
In the meantime, Pardew is likely to have Davide Santon, Cheik Tiote and Tim Krul available for Thursday night’s Europa League tie against Benfica in Lisbon.
“Cheik could be OK for Thursday, and Santon was perhaps a day’s training away from being involved,” added Pardew.
“Sadio’s close. Tim’s close. I need them all back for Thursday. We know the next two are really important games for us.
“I think all those players I mentioned have got a great chance for Fulham, of course.
“Whether they make Thursday, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, Pardew erred on the side of caution with midfielder Sylvain Marveaux – who has been nursing a groin strain – at the Etihad Stadium, where he was an unused substitute.
However, Marveaux should be fit enough to start against Benfica at the Estadio da Luz in the first leg of the club’s quarter-final.
“Marveaux had a slight groin strain in the week,” he said.
“I was a little bit worried bearing in mind we’ve got Benfica and then Fulham, which is probably more of a winnable game. I didn’t want to lose him.”