Glenn Roeder has revealed that Shola Ameobi is making good progress in his recovery from hip surgery.
The Newcastle striker underwent an operation in Colorado last November in a bid to cure his long-standing problem.
He returned to America last week to be assessed and Roeder was delighted with the news he reported.
"Shola has been across to Colorado to see the specialist Marc Philippon again," Roeder told the club's official website.
"The good news is that, having looked at Shola, he could not be more pleased with his progress.
"As well as Shola did for me last season, with a goal every two games, he was not a 100 per cent fit Shola Ameobi."
Roeder is reluctant to talk about a possible comeback date for Ameobi but he believes the forward could challenge for an England place once he returns.
"England is a goal Shola should have in the back of his mind even now," Roeder suggested.
"His first goal is to get fully fit again and get the Newcastle shirt back on. Then he should start looking to hold his place down, and look to attract the attention of Steve McClaren."
With Michael Owen also on the comeback trail and Obafemi Martins impressing in his first season at St James' Park, Roeder is already looking forward to the time when all three will be available for selection.
"Oba has just started his career at Newcastle and I expect him to be here for many, many seasons," said Roeder.
"When we have him and Michael and Shola back fit, then with those three players it looks very interesting for us and who is to say we don't find a fourth to have real competition there.
"Michael looks in great shape. I know Michael will get a lot of attention when he returns and that Obafemi Martins is becoming a fans' favourite, but I also believe we haven't seen the best of a fully fit Shola yet."