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The Argentine centre-back has been sidelined for much of 2014 with a knee injury, with the Magpies struggling in his absence, but the 32-year-old is back in training

Newcastle could be boosted by the return of captain Fabricio Coloccini from a knee injury for Sunday's showdown with Aston Villa.

The 32-year-old centre-back has not featured since New Year's Day, when he was forced to come off in the 65th minute in a 1-0 defeat at West Brom.

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Newcastle's form has dipped in the Premier League since and Alan Pardew's side are currently on a four-match winless run, including three straight defeats.

But Coloccini could return for the clash with Villa, which would be a welcome boost for Pardew having seen his side ship 10 goals in their last three league matches.

"Colo's worked hard, and he's looking better," Pardew told The Shields Gazette. "He was in all weekend, so he's had four or five days."

Striker Loic Remy will also be available following a three-match suspension, while Cheick Tiote could feature after a two-game lay-off with a hamstring problem.

"Loic's available, Cheick's running and Colo's trained," Pardew added.

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