FABRICIO Coloccini’s putting in overtime in a bid to be fit for Aston Villa’s visit to St James’s Park.
Newcastle United’s influential captain is back in full training ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game.
Coloccini – who has been sidelined for the last seven weeks – worked on his fitness over the weekend.
And United manager Alan Pardew is hopeful the defender will be fit enough to lead from the back as the club looks to put an end to a miserable three-game losing streak.
“Colo’s worked hard, and he’s looking better,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“He was in all weekend, so he’s had four or five days.”
Coloccini suffered medial ligament damage in Newcastle’s New Year’s Day defeat to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
And the 32-year-old – who was allowed to return to his native Argentina for his rehabilitation – returned to Tyneside early last week in readiness for his return to action.
The Argentina international talked of his “frustration” at his latest enforced lay-off in his programme notes for last Wednesday’s home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Pardew will also have Loic Remy available, with the forward having served a three-match ban for his dismissal against Norwich City at Carrow Road late last month.
And midfielder Cheik Tiote (hamstring) could also return after a two-game absence.
“Loic’s available, Cheik’s running well and Colo’s trained,” added under-fire Pardew, whose team are ninth in the Premier League table with 12 games left to play.
Villa, meanwhile, are battling the threat of relegation. Paul Lambert’s 12th-placed side are four points above the drop zone.
United won 2-1 at Villa Park in September thanks to goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran.