Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear has revealed that Joey Barton will be involved against Sunderland on Saturday.
The midfielder has completed a six-match suspension after admitting a Football Association charge of violent conduct following his training ground assault of former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.
Barton, who also served 74 days of a six-month prison sentence over the summer, played for Newcastle reserves against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
Interim manager Kinnear has no doubts about his fitness and plans to include the 26-year-old in his squad at the Stadium of Light.
"There's a big chance," Kinnear told Sky Sports News.
"In training he has been phenomenal, he is really fit. I just wanted to get that game (against Middlesbrough) into him prior to this one.
"He will definitely be involved."
Asked if Barton would start on the substitutes' bench, Kinnear added: "I can't tell you that but he will definitely be in the squad and probably so too will Jonas (Gutierrez)."
Gutierrez has been out for a month with a shoulder injury but Kinnear is happy with the progress he has made and delighted to have more options available to him.
Kinnear said of the Argentine winger: "I have been pleased with him and he's in contention, so the squad is looking good."