Defender Steven Taylor has revealed he hopes to return to pre-season training with the Newcastle squad 'fitter, stronger and better' than ever.
The central defender had been a bedrock of the Magpies defence until the 26-year-old ruptured his Achilles in the home defeat against Chelsea back in December.
And although Taylor is not expected to play again for the rest of the season, he has praised manager Alan Pardew for allowing him to still take part in club activities such as January's warm-weather training trip to Tenerife.
"The good thing for me is I've got a manager and a coaching staff who always get me into the dressing room and amongst the lads," he said.
"I still feel part of it, which is a massive thing for me. When you get injured you can get forgotten about but fair play to the rest of the lads, they have been spot on and worked with me every single day.
"I'm out of the boot now, back walking and back in the gym, and back to hard work.
"It's going to be a long, hard recovery. I know some people say it's the worst injury you can get as a footballer, but I'm taking it in my stride. I'm relishing the chance to come back and I can't wait to come back fitter, stronger and better than I was before. I'm hoping to be involved in the start of the next pre-season.
"The manager's very good at making me feel involved and put me in amongst everybody.
"When the players went abroad to Spain they took me with them to be amongst everybody.
"They've just been very good for me."