Glenn Roeder has revealed that Shola Ameobi is progressing so well that he could feature before the end of the season.
Newcastle wrote off the striker's chances of playing again this term after sending him for an operation on his hip in November.
The Magpies have struggled on without Ameobi, but he has been impressing in training and could be back in action at some stage this term.
Charles N'Zogbia is also closing on a return to fitness following his knee complaint and Roeder has been allowed to issue a positive fitness bulletin.
"Charles N'Zogbia picked up what we can only describe as a nasty knee injury against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge just before Christmas which has needed a lot of rehabilitation work on it," Roeder told the Evening Chronicle.
"But Charles is now back with us and working with our rehab expert John Green, who is coming up again today from London.
"And while Sunday's game at Wigan Athletic will come too early for him, we hope to have him in contention for Middlesbrough a week on Saturday.
"Shola Ameobi won't be ready for then but, while we expected him to be out for the rest of the season, the goalposts have changed a bit."