Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits the return of defender Steven Taylor is a big boost ahead of the new Premier League season.
The 26-year-old centre-back has been out of action for seven months since rupturing his Achilles tendon during the defeat by Chelsea in December.
But Taylor has now returned to training and Pardew feels he could once again prove a key asset for the Magpies.
"I'm looking forward to having Steven running around and playing again," Pardew told the Evening Chronicle.
"Having Steven back fit for pre-season is a big boost for us. He did very well last season before his injury.
"He's an important player for us, and we want everyone fit for what's going to be a tough season.
"He's hoping to have an injury-free season, and hopefully he will."
Newcastle are still keen on Twente defender Douglas but the Brazilian-born star wants to maintain residence in Holland until the end of August to ensure he qualifies for the Dutch national side.
As a result, Taylor has a chance to impress Pardew in pre-season and stake his claim for a first-team spot alongside last season's regular pairing of Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson.