Enrique set to boost Magpies
Shearer hopeful full-back will return against Portsmouth
Last Updated: April 23, 2009 10:45am
Enrique: Close to return
Jose Enrique is on course to return to the Newcastle United team to face Portsmouth, but Steven Taylor and Joey Barton remain doubtful.
Spanish full-back Enrique has missed the last two games against Stoke and Tottenham after twisting his knee in training earlier this month.
He is due to return to training before the weekend and could be involved in Monday night's crucial clash with Pompey at St James' Park.
"We're hopeful on Jose," Magpies boss Alan Shearer told the club's official website.
"He's should be back in full training by the end of the week and that will give him a chance for Monday."
Not giving up
However, defender Taylor and midfielder Barton are both facing a battle to prove their fitness ahead of Portsmouth's visit.
Taylor suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury in last week's defeat at Tottenham, while Barton has not played since the end of January due to a broken metatarsal.
Shearer added: "Joey Barton has not returned to full training yet, but should do over the weekend.
"He is doubtful for the game as is Steven Taylor. But we're not giving up hope on anyone."
Shearer also allayed fears that striker Obafemi Martins could require an operation on his troublesome groin injury.
The Magpies boss insists the Nigeria international is fit, but concedes that he, and fellow forward Mark Viduka, require regular monitoring.
When asked about Martins, Shearer told Sky Sports News on Thursday: "He has done well in training. They had a day off yesterday and are back in today. Both he and Mark Viduka are fit.
"It is a case of monitoring them. But at the minute, we are hopeful."