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