Siem de Jong expects to return to first-team action for Newcastle later this month following eight months out through injury.
De Jong featured for the club’s U21s against Derby County on Wednesday evening, captaining the side for 45 minutes after completing his recovery fromn surgery.
The former Ajax midfielder was sidelined for six months last September after tearing his thigh during training, and was then ruled out for eight weeks after suffering a collapsed lung for the second time in his career.
Manager John Carver is hoping the midfielder will be available for Sunday’s home fixture against Tottenham as Newcastle have scored just once during a run of five consecutive defeats.
Although keen to feature this weekend, De Jong is targeting next week’s game against Swansea as a more realistic return.
He told nufcTV: "I don't think I could play 90 minutes in the coming weeks, so it will be maybe as a substitute at the end of the game, but I don't know if I will be on the bench. We haven't discussed yet when I'll be back.
"But I hope Swansea. I don't know yet if Tottenham would be a good time, but I hope to be back on the bench against Swansea, depending on how it goes in the coming days and depending on how I feel tomorrow after today.
"I haven't repaid the fans a lot this season, so I hope to be playing a couple of games, maybe, at the end of the season.
"But I have to focus on next season and be really fit then and hopefully I can show the fans what I can do, and show myself and show my team-mates what I can do."
De Jong has made just three first-team appearances for Newcastle since his £6m signing from Ajax last summer. The Dutchman scored 78 goals in 244 games for the Amsterdam club over a seven-year period.