Newcastle United boss Joe Kinnear has welcomed the return to fitness of midfielder Alan Smith.
The former Leeds and Manchester United star is back in full training after recovering from an Achilles problem which has sidelined him since August.
Kinnear is happy to have the versatile performer back in the fold as his options have been depleted by a series of injuries to key players.
"He's been out of action for a long time and he is the only player who hasn't been available to me," Kinnear told the Evening Chronicle.
"It's good for him to get back out there and get some action.
"He's been putting in a lot of work behind the scenes and been trying to get back to fitness."
Smith featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Carlisle on Tuesday, with Kinnear also using that game to take a look at several young trialists.
Norwegian left-back Per Egil Flo of Sogndal and 19-year-old centre-half Even Hovland, also from Sogndal, were both involved against the Cumbrians.
Finnish left-back Jukka Raitala, a 20-year-old from HJK Helsinki, also took part and Kinnear believes the talented trio are potentially stars of the future.
"All three of them are Under-21 internationals," he said.
"One is a centre-back, one is a left-back and the other is a midfielder.
"We will take a look at them. But I am not thinking about them for the first team."