Chris Hughton expects Shola Ameobi to return to first-team action sooner than initially expected.
The Newcastle striker has not played since the end of August having been sidelined with a stress fracture of his foot.
The 28-year-old was not expected back until Christmas, but it has now been discovered that the frontman could be fit to feature by early December.
Ameobi was in scintillating form before his injury, scoring five goals in five games, and despite the Magpies recently bringing in Marlon Harewood on loan it seems the team are missing his presence having scored just one goal in their last two games.
"The good news with Shola is that he has had no adverse reaction to the original injury and he's started doing work on it again," he told The Chronicle.
"He's with us over this fortnight and he's continuing to work at it. We are looking at a pre-Christmas return for Shola, and we'e thinking it should be early December at the moment which would obviously be a big boost for everyone because he is a big player for us.
"He is with us at the moment and I think it is a slightly frustrating time for him because he cannot really do any weight-bearing training with the foot at the moment.
"Obviously the most important thing is making sure he is right, so we don't want to rush anything, but his progress has been quite good.
"In his absence we've managed to get Marlon Harewood and he has brought some quality to the squad, but obviously the more players that we have capable of scoring goals the better, so it would be good to have him back."