Newcastle United defender returns from lengthy injury absence after surgery

Newcastle United defender Kell Watts made his first appearance in a Peterborough United shirt this week.

The 22-year-old defender picked up a knee injury during pre-season with Newcastle and required surgery. As he was recovering from his injury, The Magpies loaned Watts out to League One side Peterborough on deadline day.

Watts remained at Newcastle during his rehabilitation process and returned to contact training at Darsley Park last month before joining up with his new Posh team-mates.

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On Monday night, Watts made his return from injury as he played 60 minutes for Peterborough Under-21s in a 4-1 defeat at Hull City.

Kell Watts of Newcastle United applauds the fans after the Pre-Season Friendly match between Doncaster Rovers and Newcastle United at at Keepmoat Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Doncaster, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

The following day, he was part of the first-team matchday squad against Forest Green Rovers. Watts remained on the bench for the 4-1 win but Peterborough manager Grant McCann is pleased with the defender’s progress heading into this Saturday’s match at Wycombe Wanderers.

Watts, whose original loan deal is until January, could potentially make his first team debut for Peterborough this weekend.

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“Kell came through 60 minutes [for the Under-21s] very well," McCann said. “I had to phone him [Tuesday] morning as well to tell him he’d be on the bench due to the illness of Ben Thompson.

"He’s a great kid, a top player and he’s only going to make us stronger. He’s ready, like all the boys, there’s good competition for places.”

Watts helped Wigan Athletic to the League One title while on loan there last season and he will be hoping for more success in the third tier with Peterborough, who currently sit fourth after 13 matches.