Toon refusing to rush Taylor

Hughton does not think centre-back will return before mid-October

Taylor: Will not face Man City

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Newcastle manager Chris Hughton has regretfully admitted that defender Steven Taylor is still at least two weeks away from full fitness.

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The 24-year-old has not played in his club's return to the Premier League after he sustained a shoulder injury in pre-season.

Taylor's rehabilitation has been shrouded in speculation as it was suggested that he wanted to quit St James' Park after he was transfer-listed in the summer in the wake of stalled contract talks.

Hughton, though, has always maintained that the centre-back, who has sensationally been linked with Barcelona in the past, has a future at Newcastle.

Excellent

And as Taylor approaches match fitness there have been calls for his inclusion as a right-back against Manchester City on Sunday amid the struggles of James Perch.

But Hughton still expects to wait until the middle of next month, telling The Journal: "Steven has got an excellent fitness level and his rehab work has been excellent.

"But he is still a couple of weeks away from joining in with everyone else in training.

"We're looking at probably mid-October for him to be back involved but as with all long-term injuries, it just depends how he reacts to being back in amongst it.

"It will be excellent to have a player like Steven back in the squad again."