Newcastle United have received a huge pre-season boost with the news that Mark Viduka is close to making his comeback from an Achilles injury.
The 31-year-old hitman sat out the closing weeks of last season with an injury which initial reports suggested would require surgery to cure.
Viduka was rumoured to be facing six months on the sidelines but, after a summer of rest, the Australia international is close to returning to training.
"We knew he wouldn't be able to train until two or three weeks into pre-season," manager Kevin Keegan told the club's official website.
"Then it will be light with a view to him coming into full-time training probably in the next four to five weeks depending on how he feels when we start to push him on.
"But I think what we will get now is no more problems with the Achilles. He's working very hard on the things he can work on which is upper-body strength and his weight is fantastic.
"So once he comes back into training it will just be the football and the quickness of that he'll have to pick up on and that takes time.
"These guys would have been training for four or five weeks and it's not easy just to pick up on that having not done that training.
"He probably won't be fit for the start of the season but he'll be pretty near."
Meanwhile, Keegan believes Charles N'Zogbia is keen to stay at St James' Park despite reports linking the French winger with moves to Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.