Solano set for return to cast spell on Black Cats

The Newcastle manager is hoping to call on his £1.5m signing from Aston Villa for the first time following the midfielder's recovery from a thigh strain.

Summer signing Emre returned to action from a hamstring injury as a substitute at Wigan on Saturday, while Solano's inclusion in the squad would be a boost because of his record against the Black Cats.

The 30-year-old Peruvian scored a penalty on his last appearance against Sunderland, handing the Magpies all three points at the Stadium of Light in April 2003, and pushing Sunderland toward relegation.

This time around, the Wearsiders are once again in the bottom three, but their hosts are only four points better off in 13th place after a difficult start to the campaign and the return of some of his big names gives Souness fresh optimism.

"We should have Nobby Solano back as he's in training all this week," he said. "He'll be in the squad, and that's very encouraging."

Souness is also hoping Lee Bowyer could be available after the knee injury which forced him out of Saturday's game before half-time proved less serious.

Souness said: "We can start to see light at the end of the tunnel and we don't want any more setbacks."

He added: "In the last five games, we have conceded two goals, and I can't believe the criticism aimed at our defenders. To me, it's very simple. We have got two goalscorers, but we are missing service to them."

Newcastle defender Craig Moore was due for his first competitive run-out for the club last night after shaking off his injury problems. The Australian international, a summer signing from Borussia Monchengladbach, was set to line up alongside Peter Ramage in central defence for the reserves at Birmingham. It will be his first taste of action since a pre-season friendly against Yeading, in which he scored on debut, because of a hamstring problem which has sidelined him.

Moore was allowed to join up with his international team-mates for their training camp earlier this month and is now looking to step up his fitness to push Jean-Alain Boumsong, Titus Bramble and Steven Taylor for a place in the first-team squad.