Newcastle's Siem de Jong back training after horror eye injury
Luckless Siem de Jong is back in training at Newcastle United after suffering a horror eye injury.
The forward damaged his eye in training early this year in an incident that left the player fearing for his sight.
But in a boost to under-pressure Steve McClaren, De Jong is now back training with his Newcastle teammates in La Manga, Spain, as part of a five-day training camp.
The Dutchman has suffered an awful run of injuries since arriving from Ajax in 2014 in a Â£6million deal.
The club's head of fitness, Alessandro Schoenmaker, has been spending extra time going through drills with the Dutch playmaker.
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"Siem has been very unlucky with his eye injury," added Schoenmaker.
"For three weeks he wasn't able to do any work, and he has now had one full week of training with me, both outside and in the gym.
"This week he will be introduced back into the group, starting with no contact but by the end of the week it will be full contact."
Vurnon Anita is also back in full training with the Newcastle first team squad after almost two months out injured with a hamstring problem.
Neighbours and relegation rivals Sunderland jetted out to Dubai for their mid-season training camp, with both sides facing a free weekend after being knocked out of the FA Cup.
But Schoenmaker, who has worked with McClaren at FC Twente, Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest and Derby County, insists La Manga is the best place for a training camp as the players don't have to contend with added flight-time and different time zones.
"I have been here three times before, including with FC Twente the year we won the championship under Steve," added Schoenmaker.
"In terms of facilities and environment it is very good and the temperature is better than at home.
"The pitches are good and we are going to get a good game on Saturday [against Norwegian side Lillestrom] - they are the most important things.
"It is ideal because it is not too far. Instead of going to Dubai or Qatar, which is much more flight-time, different time zones and a very hot temperature, we have a great base here.
"It's about maintaining their match fitness in this gap before we play Stoke City.
"This is always a good time to get the group together, do extra work on the training pitch and in the gym, and with a game at the end of it.
"Some of the players will have extra sessions, especially those who haven't played too much in the last few weeks, but it will be hard work for everyone."