Butt agrees extension, Smith set for return

Newcastle United midfielder Nicky Butt has agreed a one-year contract extension with club, keeping him at St James' Park until the end of the 2009/10 season. The former England international has made 138 appearances for the Magpies since arriving from Manchester United in July 2004, playing 26 times this campaign. He joins team-mates Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi in agreeing new contracts with Joe Kinnear's side, while United have also been boosted by the signings of Peter Lovenkrands, Kevin Nolan and Ryan Taylor during the winter transfer window.

And the Toon are also set to welcome back Alan Smith to first-team action after a six-month layoff with a broken ankle.

The 28-year-old is expected to make the squad against West Brom this weekend. "I've been unable to pick Smithy since coming in as manager, and I'm delighted to get the opportunity to do so now," Kinnear told the club's official website. "I have always rated Smithy very highly, and he'll bring in the battling qualities we need at the moment. He works his socks off in training and in games as well. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that's what you need when you are up against it."

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