Steven Taylor’s will step up his comeback this week ahead of Newcastle United’s visit to Vicarage Road.
The defender, sidelined since September with a hamstring problem, returned to training last week.
And Taylor could be named in the squad for Saturday’s Premier League game against Watford if he comes through a full week’s training.
In the absence of an Under-21 Premier League fixture this week, Newcastle will look to arranage a full-scale practice match this week so Taylor, and a number of other players coming back from injuries, can top up their match fitness.
Long-serving Taylor, out of contract in the summer, has made only two Premier League appearances so far this season.
The 29-year-old – who has made 260 appearances and scored 15 goals for his boyhood club – started the club’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, which ended goalless.
Winger Rolando Aarons and striker Emmanuel Riviere also need match practice, having returned from long-term injuries this month.
The pair played for the club’s Under-21s against Everton last week and were unused substitutes against West Ham.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are still assessing the injury suffered by defender Paul Dummett against West Ham.
Dummett was forced off in the second half with a tight hamstring and midfielder Jack Colback had to drop into defence for the rest of the game.
Versatile Colback will play at left-back against Watford should Dummett fail to prove his fitness.