Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is relishing the prospect of having central defender Steven Taylor fit for the new English Premier League season.
The 26-year-old has been out of action for seven months after rupturing his Achilles tendon during the 3-0 defeat by Chelsea on
That represents a major boost for Pardew after the club's gamble on not signing cover for the former England Under-21s skipper in January fortunately did not backfire.
Pardew told the
"Having Steven back fit for pre-season is a big boost for us. He did very well last season before his injury.
"He's an important player for us, and we want everyone fit for what's going to be a tough season. He's hoping to have an injury-free season, and hopefully he will."
Taylor will fight for a place alongside captain Fabricio Coloccini with
The Magpies' interest in FC Twente's Brazilian-born defender Douglas in ongoing, but no move is imminent with the player needing to remain in
In the meantime, Taylor will get a chance to impress Pardew all over again in a pre-season campaign which is yet to be finalised, although it is expected to start in
Arsenal's 1-0 Premier League victory over Newcastle United ensured it beat north London rival Tottenham Hotspur to the last UEFA Champions League place despite a late blockbuster from Gareth Bale on the final day of the season.