Rolando Aarons is being primed for an explosive FA Cup comeback for Newcastle United.
Aarons has been sidelined since September because of injury.
But the winger is back in training and ready to return to first-team action.
And head coach Steve McClaren must now decide whether he is fit enough to feature in tomorrow’s third-round tie against Watford at Vicarage Road.
McClaren had hoped to give Aarons a run-out in an reserve-team game against Everton at Southport’s Haig Avenue on Monday.
But the Under-21 Premier League Cup fixture was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Aarons, keen to put a wretched 2015 behind him, has instead trained intensively on Tyneside ahead of the cup tie.
McClaren insisted earlier this week that he would name a “strong team” at Vicarage Road.
Fans, however, are expecting changes given that the relegation-threatened club has a hugely-important Premier League home game against Manchester United three days later.
And McClaren – who has previously considered loaning out Aarons – is minded to involve the 20-year-old, who made four appearances in the early part of the season.
The England Under-20 international returned to training late last month after recovering from a foot problem.
McClaren feels pacy Aarons – who netted two stunning goals against Portland Timbers on the club’s pre-season tour of the USA – is ‘the future’ for Newcastle.
“I like wingers,” said McClaren. “I like players with speed.
“He’s inexperienced – he’s a young boy – but he’s the future.”