Newcastle's Matt Ritchie shrugs off injury and puts himself in contention to start against Huddersfield

Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie has handed Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez a major boost by resuming training ahead of Saturday's crucial Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town.

Ritchie – who withdrew from the Scotland squad through injury over the weekend – was back with the rest of the squad on Tyneside today after being assessed by the club's medical staff.

The winger played 87 minutes of Scotland's 1-0 friendly defeat by Costa Rica on Friday night, but headed back to the North East before Tuesday night's 1-0 win in Hungary.

Ritchie alone with the the club's fitness coach yesterday, but was given the green light to join the rest of the group this morning.

The 28-year-old – who has scored in two of his last three games for Newcastle – including a winner against Manchester United, is a key member of Benitez's team and his availability this weekend will delight Benitez.

Benitez's team currently sits in 13th place in the table on 32 points, but just four points clear of the drop zone with eight games remaining.

Victory over Huddersfield – who are two places and a single point worse off – would edge them closer to Benitez's 40-point target for the season and significantly boost their chances of remaining in the top flight.