Haidara set to make Benfica return

CARRIED OFF ... Newcastle United's Davide Santon leaves the field.
CARRIED OFF ... Newcastle United's Davide Santon leaves the field.

MASSADIO Haidara could make a timely return for Newcastle United against Benfica.

Davide Santon was carried off the field during yesterday’s 1-0 win over Fulham at St James’s Park with a hamstring injury.

And United manager Alan Pardew fears the left-back will be sidelined for “four or five” weeks.

Haidara – who suffered knee and thigh injuries after being recklessly caught by Callum McManaman in last month’s defeat at Wigan Athletic – is back in training.

And Pardew’s hopeful he’ll be available for the second leg of the club’s Europa League quarter-final against Benfica.

“Sadio trained on Monday,” Pardew told the Gazette. “There’s a good chance he could be involved on Thursday if we think he’s OK.”

Newcastle trail Benfica 3-1 after last week’s first leg at the Estadio da Luz.

Meanwhile, another United player capable of filling in at left-back, Ryan Taylor, is close to a comeback from a cruciate ligament surgery.

However, Taylor – who suffered the injury last August – is still a fortnight away from a return.

“Ryan’s going to train on Monday, but he’s still two or three weeks away, we think,” added Pardew.