Viduka some way off return

Magpies striker still recovering from summer surgery

Viduka: Achilles problem

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Newcastle's interim boss Joe Kinnear does not expect Mark Viduka to be back in action for at least six more weeks.

The Australian international is yet to feature for the Magpies this season as he continues his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury.

The powerful front-man underwent surgery over the summer in an attempt to resolve the persistent problem, with an initial prognosis ruling him out for up to six months.

Newcastle are desperate to get the veteran striker back in action, but Kinnear admits he is facing a waiting game regarding a number of his first-team squad.

"There are seven or eight key players who I'd love to have at my disposal, but most of them are at least three of four weeks away," he told the club's official website.

"Mark Viduka is at least six weeks away, and Alan Smith is out for three months."

Hopeful

Kinnear is currently preparing for his first game in charge of the troubled Magpies away at Everton on Sunday.

He admits that he is unlikely to have any his walking wounded back in the fold before the trip to Merseyside, but he is confident that his numbers will have been bolstered by the time Manchester City arrive at St James' Park after the upcoming international break.

One of those he is hoping to be able to call upon is Argentina international Jonas Gutierrez.

The winger has been out action since picking up a shoulder injury while on international duty in September, but is making good progress in his recovery.

"I'm hoping to have one or two players back for the Man City game on 20th October," Kinnear added.

"I will meet Jonas Gutierrez on Thursday and I think he could be back in time for that match.

"I hope he is because he's obviously a player who can make a difference."