There’s an old adage among football managers that says sometimes the return of a player from long-term injury can feel like the arrival of a ‘new signing’ and it’s a sentiment that has been expressed already this season.
Arsene Wenger was the most recent exponent of the saying, with the Frenchman expressing his delight at the re-emergence of Abou Diaby following a long spell on the treatment table at the Emirates.
Alan Pardew could well be the next Premier League manager to celebrate such a "new signing" – something of an ironic prospect given the criticism levelled at his current employers Newcastle United for an extended period of poor dealings in the transfer market.
That’s because the under fire Magpies boss could soon be able to call on former Wigan Athletic midfielder/defender Ryan Taylor, who has been out of action for much of the past two years.
Injured during a Europa League tie with Atromitos back in August 2012 in which he tore a cruciate ligament in his right knee, Taylor suffered another serious setback towards the end of that season with further ligament damage that saw him miss all of the following campaign.
Some 17 months on from when that nightmare started, a happy ending could be on the horizon, with the Chronicle reporting that the player recently returned for a behind-closed-doors friendly with Carlisle United.
"(It has been) Mentally tough and phsyically tough,” he told the news provider this week.
"But when I look back now I am proud of myself for everything I’ve done ... It’s been a winding road and it’s been up and down. Honestly it’s had everything."
His return could not be better timed for Newcastle, with the full-back, who can also operate on the wing, likely to provide greater competition for places while giving the squad something of a boost as a popular member of the team whom many had feared would fail to make a return.
Adept at scoring from free-kicks and a dangerous crosser of the ball, Taylor could give the Magpies the extra attacking impetus they seemingly need to kick-start their season.
Next up for the Toon is a trip to the Liberty Stadium to face a Swansea side that beat Newcastle 3-0 on their last visit to the Welsh ground.