Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez hints Fabricio Coloccini could return from injury for Magpies' next game

St James Park

The 34-year-old has not played for the Premier League side since February.

Rafael Benitez has hinted that Fabricio Coloccini could be in contention to feature in Newcastle's game against Southampton this weekend, the Shields Gazette reports.

The Argentinian has been out since February due to a calf injury, but Benitez has confirmed that he will be back in training ahead of the trip to St Mary's, and could possibly feature against Ronald Koeman's men.

"To have more players is always important, because then you have more competition between them," he told the Shields Gazette.

"But they have to be fit. They have to be in the best condition possible for the fight that we have at the moment.

"So he will be training and we'll see how he feels and then we'll decide, but the good thing is that if they are coming back then at least we have that competition and that can only be good for the team."

The 34-year-old's last appearance for the Magpies proved why many have concerns about him being the leader of the defence, as well as captain of the side as a whole, as the Premier League strugglers were thrashed 5-1 by Chelsea.

However, since then, the side have endured a rotten run of form and appear to be slipping closer to relegation. In the five games that the centre-back has been absent for, Newcastle have collected just one point and lost to relegation rivals Norwich in their most recent encounter.

The defeat saw serious questions asked about some of the defending from the away side at Carrow Road, so Benitez will need Coloccini to return with his inconsistency behind him as when he is at his best, the defender is arguably the kind of leader that can help save the club from the desperate situation they are currently in. 

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch