Rafael Benitez has confirmed at his latest press conference that Ciaran Clark is back in Newcastle United training, as the defender steps up his recovery from injury.
Clark has missed Newcastle’s last six matches, as he has been on the treatment table.
However, the 27-year-old could be involved in Newcastle’s next match, which comes against Preston North End on Monday night.
Unfortunately for Newcastle, the news of Clark’s return was coupled with the blow that Dwight Gayle will be unavailable.
RB: "Dwight is still not ready, but Clark is training with the team." #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 21, 2017
RB: "When you have players coming back from injuries it's good news for us. The competition increases." #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 21, 2017
Clark’s importance to Newcastle’s team has been highlighted during his time on the sidelines, as the Magpies’ form has dipped badly in recent weeks.
Benitez’s side have struggled for victories, and were beaten 3-1 by Ipswich Town in their last outing.
Newcastle now have work to do, if they are to save their place in the Championship’s top two.
The North East side need to win two of their final three fixtures to ensure promotion.