Newcastle defender Steven Taylor is expected to return to training on Monday after suffering a minor setback in his bid to return to action.
The 24-year-old has been sidelined since damaging his shoulder during a pre-season friendly at Carlisle on July 17, and was due to resume full training last week. However, a slight calf problem put back his progress and he will now resume on Monday, less than a week before arch-rivals Sunderland head for St James' Park.
Manager Chris Hughton said: "He will start training on Monday and then for him, it will be very much how quickly he can get through. He has done a lot of cardiovascular work and his rehab, but it was just slowed down a little bit last week. He had a slight problem with his calf, which he has come through, so we are just looking to see what progress he can make from Monday onwards."
Taylor, who is out of contract at the end of the season and is yet to agree a new deal, has been transfer-listed by the club as a result of the stalled negotiations.
The defender is represented by Paul Stretford, whose clients also include Wayne Rooney, the man currently at the centre of an astonishing public wrangle with Manchester United.
Hughton has repeatedly spoken of his determination to retain Taylor's services, and the player's camp have indicated they are willing to continue negotiations despite their surprise and disappointment at the club's move back in August.
However, with Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson having made a fist of life in the Barclays Premier League and summer signing Sol Campbell waiting in the wings, it remains to be seen what appetite there is to resolve the issue.
At his best, Greenwich-born, but Tyneside-raised Taylor is a valuable member of the team and his local boy status has made him popular with the fans.
But with budgets tight at St James', owner Mike Ashley is sticking to a strict wage structure.
Like Taylor, Campbell will remain on Tyneside as their team-mates head for West Ham on Saturday.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms