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The Magpies defender has missed most of the season with a knee-ligament injury but has revealed he could yet be fit to face the Toon Army's fierce rivals in April

Newcastle's Ryan Taylor is looking to make his return to action in time to take part in the second Tyne-Wear derby of the campaign against Sunderland in April.

The versatile defender has missed much of the season due to a knee injury sustained in the Magpies' Europa League play-off victory over Greek side Atromitos back in August.

But despite fears that could be unavailable until next term, the 28-year-old has revealed that he could yet be fit for the visit of the Black Cats on April 13.

He told the club's official website: "I'm about five-and-a-half months into my rehab so there's hopefully not much longer left.

"I haven't really got a date or a game in mind but one game I would love to be back for is the derby - and it's a realistic target to be aiming for that.

"It's seven or eight weeks away and I'd love to be in contention for that game. But I've just got to see how the next few weeks go and hopefully then I can join back in with the boys and enjoy the last six weeks of the season.

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"It wouldn't be a setback if I didn't make the Sunderland game - it's just a target. It could be the one before or it could be the one after, or two after. But I'd just love to be back for that game. It doesn't even have to be my first game - it could be my second or third - but that's the target and I'd love to be involved in it."

Taylor is enthusiastic about the prospect of making his comeback, but is under no illusions and knows he will have to compete for his place in a side that has found new life following an influx of new signings in the January transfer window.

He added: "With the boys doing well, I'd have to fight for a place on the bench at the minute but I'd just love to be a part of it and to be honest I can't wait for the buzz again, to arrive on a matchday a couple of hours early as you do in the build-up to games. It'll be weird but I'm really looking forward to it."

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