Mikel Merino reveals where he is at with his recovery from injury at Newcastle
Mikel Merino's closing in on a comeback for Newcastle United '“ but he's unlikely to be involved against Watford.
The midfielder has missed the club's last three Premier League games, all of which ended in defeat, with a back problem.
However, Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund on a permanent deal last month, is back in light training ahead of Saturday's home game against Watford.
The 21-year-old told NUFC TV: "It's always hard not being able to play football and having to see the team without being able to help them on the pitch.
"But I've tried to think positively and put 100% into the recovery. I know it's less time now (before) I come back."
Merino – who initially joined Newcastle on a season-long loan from Dortmund – started his recovery in his native Spain.
Asked about the injury, Merino said: "One bone is partially broken.
"I've been with some specialists in my home in Pamplona watching the way to recover the bone and the disc. That's a little bit broken as well.
"I was there for two weeks and tried my best. I know what I have to do to be at 100% again and I'm doing it."
He added: "I'm doing double sessions to improve my strength. We're trying to improve my fitness. I don't feel the pain as much as I did in the beginning."
While Merino is desperate to be back on the field, he won't take any risks.
"I hope to be 100% soon," said the Spain Under-21 international. "I think we're doing the right things, the proper steps. I'm ready to start training harder.
"I want to take my time and I want to help the team as well. We have to take care about every injury. I know that the team is doing great job.
"We're working hard, and I can see it in training."