STEVEN Taylor is back in training at Newcastle United – and ready to declare himself fit to face Reading.
The defender has been out since suffering a hamstring problem in November’s defeat to Southampton.
And Taylor was back in full training at a wintry Benton on Monday to give manager Alan Pardew a welcome lift ahead of Saturday’s crucial home game against Reading.
The 26-year-old has been keenly missed by Newcastle over the past six weeks, and his return is timely for the relegation-threatened club, which is without a win in four Premier League games, and just two points above the drop zone.
Pardew had hoped to have Taylor in his squad for last weekend’s visit to Carrow Road.
But the game came too soon for the centre-half, whose career has been blighted by injury in recent seasons.
Taylor, pictured, ruptured his Achilles last season after hitting form alongside captain Fabricio Coloccini, whose United future is in doubt after he asked to leave in this months transfer window.
Coloccini and Taylor trained in the snow at Newcastle’s HQ yesterday.
And Pardew will have to decide whether Taylor – who has missed the last 11 games – should make his comeback from the bench, or in the starting XI.
Much could also depend on the outcome of talks between Coloccini, his representative and the club this week amid interest in the defender from Argentinian club San Lorenzo.
Meanwhile, midfielder Yohan Cabaye – who has recovered from groin surgery – seems certain to start against Reading after coming off the bench against Norwich.