Glenn Roeder says Michael Owen could make his return for Newcastle against Reading next Monday.
The forward has not featured for Newcastle since damaging the cruciate ligament in his knee on World Cup duty last summer.
Owen's rehabilitation has gone according to plan and he played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Gretna earlier in April.
His display against Gretna prompted talk that Owen would return against Chelsea on Sunday, but a minor groin niggle put paid to those plans.
Roeder has described Owen's groin injury as 'hardly worth a mention' and has not ruled out fielding the striker against The Royals.
"It is not a problem at all. He is just not fully-fit. It is hardly worth a mention," said Roeder.
"But he has been out for so long, it is important that when he returns, we know he is 100 per cent fully fit.
"We have just got to wait until he is fully fit, and you know how much I am prepared to be patient with all players.
"I have shown that always and I will never change from being a patient person because I know patience pays off in the long run.
"He has got a full week now, eight days, to the Reading game, and we will certainly know by the middle to the end of the week whether he is going to make that."
Shola Ameobi is another Newcastle striker on the comeback trail and he could also see action against Reading, having battled back to fitness following hip surgery last year.
"Shola is going to play in the reserves and I am hoping he will be fit for the Reading game, maybe to start, maybe to be involved in some shape - and I would not rule Michael out at all," added Roeder.