Ryan Taylor nears Newcastle return following eight-month injury lay-off

Ryan Taylor: Suffered serious knee injury eight months ago

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Newcastle defender Ryan Taylor is closing in on a return to first-team action following eight months out with a knee injury.

The 28-year-old will travel with the United squad to Lisbon for their Europa League quarter-final first-leg tie with Benfica this week so he can step up his fitness work.

"I'm going to go to Benfica and do a bit of training out there and watch the game," Taylor told the Evening Chronicle. "I won't be ready for it, but I'll be out there with the lads.

"Hopefully, we'll go through. I might be available for the semis if we get through, who knows?"

Taylor picked up the injury in the second leg of Newcastle's Europa League qualifying tie against Atromitos last August and he is now keen to make up for lost time.

"It's only been seven or eight months," he added. "It's not that long when you think about it, but in footballing terms it's a full season. It would be nice to put that in the past and concentrate on these last few weeks.

"I'm just looking to get back before the end of the season. Atromitos was the last full game I played. It's quite astonishing, really. It does seem a long time ago."