Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has revealed that striker Loic Remy could be in line for a return against Stoke City on Saturday.
Remy, on loan from Championship side QPR, has missed the last five games for Newcastle because of a calf complaint.
Newcastle have won just one of those matches in his absence, a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace that marked the only time this term that Pardew's side have scored in the Premier League without Remy on the pitch.
Pardew's men have won only four of their last 15 league matches, a run that has ended any hope of a potential top-six challenge.
But, although Newcastle have little to play for in the remaining five games, Pardew - who may also be able to welcome back goalkeeper Tim Krul - insists Remy's prospective return comes at an important time.
"We've got to make sure everybody's available," Pardew said. "Maybe we'll have Loic back, maybe Tim will be back.
"Loic is not far away – it will be a boost for the squad if we can get him back in and around us.
"Hopefully, we can for Stoke because that's a big game for us. We have lost two heavily at home."
And the former West Ham boss, set to serve the third game of a four-match touchline ban, has called for his team to respond to the criticism that has been levelled at them and secure a result at the Britannia Stadium.
"It's a week where we're going to have to take the criticism that comes our way," Pardew added.
"But most importantly, we have to work between now and Stoke and get a formula to get us a result. That's really what we need – a result and a goal or more."comments