Uefa give Magpies fixture hope

Newcastle could agree switch after Europa League draw

Steven Taylor: Could have to play two games in 48 hours

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UEFA have told Newcastle they could yet avoid having to play twice in 48 hours at the start of the new campaign.

The first leg of the Magpies' Europa League play-off tie is scheduled for Thursday, August 23 - two days before their Premier League game at Chelsea, which kicks off at 5.30pm.

Newcastle initially asked for the league game to be moved back 24 hours but the Metropolitan Police refused as the Notting Hill Carnival is due to get underway the same day.

UEFA subsequently rejected a request for the Europa League match to be played a day earlier.

But the European governing body has confirmed that there is a window to agree a switch after the draw on Friday, August 10.

"In principle, Uefa is not in a position to change the requested fixture from Thursday to Wednesday or Tuesday," said a UEFA spokesman.

"However, after the draw ceremony for the play-offs, if the opponent agrees to re-schedule the match date to the Tuesday, August 21 before 1830 CET, the UEFA administration will be open to consider the request.

Opponents' decision

"Written approval is required from the opponent club as well as the respective national associations of both teams.

"Please note that should Newcastle United FC be drawn to play the match on August 23 and the opponent does not agree to change the match date, the match will be maintained as such."

Steven Taylor could be in contention for that game having stepped up his recovery from a ruptured Achilles last December.

The 26-year-old centre-half was due to resume training with his team-mates on Thursday.

"That's going to be the best thing," he told the club's official website. "I have missed the banter, I have missed being in amongst the lads and training with them.

Taylor boost

"I just can't wait to get back. It's going to feel like a little kid in a sweet shop."

Taylor could even feature in the Magpies' opening Premier League game at home to Tottenham on August 18, when Newcastle begin their quest to repeat last season's fifth-place finish.

"That first game of the season, for me, is the most important thing," Taylor added. "That's all I am gearing up for now.

"I just can't wait to get started again and finish off where I left off.

"Hopefully this club is going places. Last year, we proved a lot of people wrong and hopefully we will do that again this year.

"We have got the players, it's a tight, great team spirit we have got here. Maintain that now and let's see what happens."