CHRIS HUGHTON is hoping that central defensive pairing Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini recover in time to face a Nottingham Forest side that he believes are genuine contenders for promotion.
Newcastle have lost only once away from home this season and their solid back four has provided the cornerstone for some impressive performances on the road.
Hughtons resources at the back have been stretched in recent weeks with injuries to the likes of Jose Enrique and Coloccini forcing the manager to shuffle his pack.
Taylors hamstring problem makes him a doubt for the trip to the City Ground and Hungary youth international Tamas Kadar is on standby if Taylor and Coloccini are unable to prove their fitness.
We havent ruled either player out, said Hughton.
Steven Taylor felt his hamstring a few days ago and we know its minimal. Its one we will assess. He is a doubt.
Coloccini, who has been out with a groin problem for a few weeks, is probably up to about 90 per cent in the work he has been doing and is another one we are not prepared to rule out. Hopefully we will get him on the training pitch on Friday.
One player champing at the bit to face Billy Davies side is former Forest striker Marlon Harewood who came through the clubs youth ranks.
He went on to play just under 200 games for the club, where his partnership with David Johnson made him a firm favourite.
Marlon is looking forward to going back to Forest, said Hughton. He speaks very fondly about the club where he played well and scored plenty of goals.
We hope it will give him a bit of extra verve to do well. It was a good period of his life there and lets hope he enjoys his return.
Forest could be genuine play-off contenders. It is a magnificent club and they have a team that is in very good form at the moment.
They play football in the way that the crowd expect them to play and they have a lot of good offensive options and I would expect a very offensive game from them because of the qualities they have.
They are able to play different styles of football and that can sometimes change over the 90 minutes. Their full backs can get forward and they have quality in midfield so you have to prepare for them as a team as opposed to preparing for individuals.
Left-back Enrique returns to the squad having missed the goalless draw with Bristol City with a hamstring problem.