Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Long Wait Is Nearly over for Magpies Centre-Back; Taylor Pencilled in to Face Olympiacos

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Long Wait Is Nearly over for Magpies Centre-Back; Taylor Pencilled in to Face Olympiacos

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

STEVEN Taylor will make his long-awaited comeback on Saturday evening as Newcastle United look to ensure the much-missed centre-back is in contention for the Premier League kick-off next month.

Taylor will get a 45-minute run-out against Olympiacos in United's opening game in the XII Trofeo Guadiana - handing him his first competitive football for some seven months.

The defender was a member of the travelling party that headed to Germany and Austria to kick off United's pre-season programme but played no part in the trio of games.

He will jet out to the Algarve today though and, with no breakthrough in the hunt for a senior defender imminent, Alan Pardew is likely to need Taylor to be in contention for a busy first month of the season. Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa are set to join up with their team-mates after an extended break following Euro 2012 but, despite the imminent transfer of Australian youngster Curtis Good, the defender is unlikely to have signed in time to join the tournament in Portugal.

United play twice and will then hold warm-weather training sessions until Tuesday. While the team is in Portugal, The Journal understands that United chiefs hope to kick-start deals for three key targets over the next few days. Mike Ashley has taken a personal interest in a deal to bring Andy Carroll back to Tyneside and United's desire to get the deal over the line is genuine and ongoing.

United chiefs remain convinced a deal can be struck and have been informed by sources close to the player that he has no future at Anfield - despite the mixed messages emanating from Merseyside.

United are set to snap up 19-year-old defender Good later this week but progress on deals for priority targets Mathieu Debuchy, Vurnon Anita and Carroll has slowed of late as Newcastle look to extract the best possible deals. …

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