Alan Pardew has revealed that Dan Gosling is just 'three or four weeks' away from full fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The midfielder is yet to make his debut for Newcastle, having ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in March before making the move from Everton over the summer.
He has been making good progress in his recovery and is now back in light training, with Pardew expecting to have him available next month.
The Magpies manager admits that Gosling would be even closer to making his first appearance of the season had it not been for the recent cold weather.
Sub-zero temperatures have left the pitches at Newcastle's Benton training ground frozen and the players have had to do indoor sessions on a hard, artificial surface that would not have helped Gosling.
"Dan Gosling's back in training, but not impact training, as we've been inside," Pardew told the Evening Chronicle.
"He's a good three or four weeks away yet. He's not far away, but the cold weather's affected it slightly."
On-loan midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is also reported to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from a double leg break sustained in September and could be back by February.
Pardew's more immediate fitness worries surround the Boxing Day clash against Manchester City.
Shola Ameobi is out with a hamstring problem and Sol Campbell is struggling to be fit after being laid low with a bout of sickness for the past week.