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The Magpies boss plays down talk of an early return for the defender who damaged his Achilles tendon in December

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has played down talk of injured defender Steven Taylor returning this season.

Taylor has been out since December with an Achilles tendon injury and there had been a suggestion that he could make a surprise comeback before the end of the season.

However, Pardew admitted it would be unlikely, despite the player’s optimism.

“Steven is always optimistic, but I would probably say no,” Pardew told Sky Sports when asked if Taylor could return before May.

Th2 26-year-old sustained the injury in a match against Chelsea in early December and underwent surgery straight away in an effort to play again this campaign.

Despite being without their captain for much of the season, Newcastle have still managed to mount an unlikely challenge for fourth place.

With 12 games to go in the Premier League, the Magpies sit in sixth place, just three points behind Arsenal and Chelsea.

However, they have conceded 23 goals in the 12 games since they lost their captain so Newcastle fans will be hoping he can return sooner rather than later.

Newcastle also let a two-goal lead slip on Saturday as they drew 2-2 with Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle’s next game is the Tyne-Wear derby against a Sunderland side who have been resurgent under Martin O’Neill.

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