FABRICIO Coloccini’s set to return to training this week – but Newcastle United’s captain won’t be fit to face Liverpool.
The defender has been sidelined since February through injury.
And United manager Alan Pardew is keen to see the influential player – who broke two bones in his back making an acrobatic clearance against Southampton – rejoin the club’s relegation battle.
But Coloccini won’t be ready for Saturday’s Premier League home game against Liverpool.
Instead, the 31-year-old is pencilled in to make his comeback against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United at Upton Park on April 4.
“Colo will train on Thursday or Friday,” Pardew told SportMail.
“To have him around will be a boost.”
Asked if the Liverpool came would come too soon for the Argentinian defender, Pardew added: “Yes.”
However, midfielder Cheik Tiote – who missed the weekend’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion – has a chance of facing Brendan Rodgers’ side at St James’s Park.
Tiote is set to return to training after suffering a minor hamstring problem.
“I think Cheik’s got a really good chance,” said Pardew, who also has left-back Davide Santon sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Midfielder Sylvain Marveaux – who has a groin problem – is being assessed by the club’s medical staff.
Marveaux also sat out the West Brom game.
Meanwhile, a Newcastle United XI, managed by Peter Beardsley, will take on Cambridge United tonight in a friendly at the Abbey Stadium (7.30pm kick-off).
The game – the first meeting between the two teams in 20 years – has been arranged as part of Cambridge’s centenary celebrations.
The Conference Premier outfit are managed by Richard Money, who had a spell as Academy director at Newcastle.