Key man returns to training at Newcastle ahead of Wolves fixture

Christian Atsu is back in training at Newcastle United ahead of the club's visit to Molineux.

Christian Atsu
Christian Atsu

The winger returned to Tyneside this week after Ghana finished fourth in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Atsu, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, was in the team of the tournament.

The 25-year-old posted a message on Twitter to United before the club's Championship game against Derby County on Saturday: "Best of luck to @NUFC We keep fighting till the end."

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Newcastle won the game 1-0 to return to the top of the division.

Before returning to England from Gabon, the 25-year-old said: "As I leave Africa, I just want to take a moment to say a big thank you to all the Ghanaian fans for your support to the Black Stars team throughout the AFCON tournament.

“You have been absolutely amazing for us, and joined us with the positivity and belief.

“Unfortunately, things did not go as we wanted so we could not celebrate together, but we will continue to work hard and will come back stronger so please keep believing!.

“Thanks again to all of you, we really appreciate you getting behind us."

Atsu's Ghana were beaten by Burkina Faso in Saturday's third-place play-off.

Meanwhile, United striker Dwight Gayle could be available for Saturday's game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Gayle pulled up with a hamstring problem after scoring his 20th goal of the season in last month's 2-1 win over Brentford.

The 26-year-old has been back in training at Newcastle.

Speaking last week, United manager Benitez said: "I think he is quite close.

“We didn’t put a timeframe on it, because we didn’t know exactly and we were a little bit worried because mentally he was struggling a little.

“But I could see this week that after the training sessions, he is quite happy and positive.

“We were talking about three weeks, but maybe it could have been even more.

“I think he is quite happy and I can see him coming back soon.

“How soon? You never know, because in one week he could be doing well, could train a little bit and then you have a little problem.

“I think he’s doing well. If everything’s OK, why not? But I don’t want to put the time on this that it is the time he has to come back.

“In theory it could be a little bit more, but I have confidence it can be earlier.”