Danny Guthrie set for return against Stoke

BOOST ... Danny Guthrie expects to be fit for the visit of Stoke to Newcastle.
BOOST ... Danny Guthrie expects to be fit for the visit of Stoke to Newcastle.

UPBEAT Danny Guthrie’s confident he’ll be fit to face Stoke City – and play his part in Newcastle’s European run-in.

A frustrated Guthrie missed the club’s Easter fixtures with a calf problem.

But the midfielder hopes to be back in training next week ahead of the visit of Tony Pulis’s side to St James’s Park on April 21.

While Guthrie’s Newcastle future is far from certain – talks on a new deal are planned for the summer when he’s out of contract – the 24-year-old is determined to play between now and the end of the season, with European football – and the Champions League – still on the agenda.

“I knew I’d miss the two over the Easter weekend,” said Guthrie.

“I had a little niggle in my calf, which they said would take 10 days to two weeks to heal.

“There’s no game this weekend. It means I’ll get a good week of training.”

Aston Villa are keen on Guthrie, who manager Alan Pardew wants to keep at St James’s Park.

Negotiations over a new deal have been put on hold until the end of the season.

However, the decision will be as much a footballing as a financial one, with Guthrie, signed in the summer of 2008, having found his opportunities in central midfield limited by the form of Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye.

Meanwhile, Guthrie’s fellow midfielder Cheik Tiote also hopes to be back for the Stoke game, having suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem in Good Friday’s 2-0 win over Swansea City.

Twitter: @milesstarforth