Shola Ameobi could return for Tyne-Wear derby

Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi could return to action for the Wear-Tyne derby on Sunday.

The 29-year-old, who scored twice in the 5-1 rout of Sunderland at St James' Park in October, has developed something of a habit of finding the back of the net against the Magpies' arch rivals over the years.

Ameobi has missed the last two games with an ankle problem, but along with Jose Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez, who both missed the 3-1 FA Cup third-round defeat at Stevenage at the weekend, could return at the Stadium of Light.

Fellow frontman Andy Carroll returned from Dubai yesterday, although no decision has yet been taken on whether or not his thigh injury has recovered enough to be risked on Wearside.

Manager Alan Pardew told the Journal: "The injury news is looking positive for us and we should have some important players back.

"Shola Ameobi should be fit now, Jonas will be fine and Jose Enrique should be available too.

"It will be a boost to have Shola back. He is going to train on Friday and that is what we are working towards at the moment - although there is a couple of days' work to be done there."

Pardew could also have summer signing Dan Gosling at his disposal for the first time after the 20-year-old finally pulled on a black and white shirt in a behind-closed-doors friendly yesterday on his return from a long-term knee injury.

The manager said: "The other positive for us is that Dan Gosling came back and he is certainly looking good.

"I couldn't really use him over Christmas without getting some minutes under his belt, but he's given me something to think about."

Newcastle will be without suspended midfield enforcer Cheik Tiote for the trip to Sunderland after his appeal against the red card he was given at Stevenage was rejected.

Danny Guthrie, one of the candidates to take the Ivory Coast international's place, played alongside Gosling yesterday, but Pardew faces a tough decision over just how to plug a gap left by one of the club's most impressive performers to date this season.

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