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Centre-back missed the majority of pre-season...

Chris Hughton will not be rushing Sol Campbell back into Premier League football.

The 35-year-old missed the start of pre-season after getting married and upon returning from his honeymoon, the centre-back looked out of condition.

The former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender missed Newcastle United’s opening game against Manchester United and will also sit out Sunday’s match against Aston Villa.

Newcastle’s manager has set Campbell a target date for his return, and although Hughton has not revealed the fixture, he believes the centre-back is on schedule.

"We knew he had to play catch-up, we knew he wasn't at the same level as everybody else,” Hughton told The Press Association.

"The most important thing, as with everybody, is you have got to make sure they are in decent condition before you play them.

"The last thing we can afford to do with any player is bring them back too soon.

"We have got to make sure when he comes back, he is there to stay, and until he's up to speed with everybody else, it just makes him that little bit more vulnerable.

"But he is working very well, Sol, and yes, we do have a target for him and he is very much in line for his target. It will be sooner rather than later."

Hughton has admitted his side are in a difficult relegation battle this season and the Newcastle boss believes their survival could be determined by how his side perform at St James’ Park.

He said: "We are very, very aware of how difficult and how tough this Barclays Premier League is and we have got to make sure we know where we can get our points.

"We have to know where we can be strong and of course, we were very strong at home last season.

"It will be a little bit different this season because of the quality we are up against, but we have got to make it a very difficult place for teams to come."

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