Duo hand Newcastle injury boost

Mehdi Abeid and Siem de Jong have returned to Newcastle United training after recovering from respective toe and thigh injuries.

Newcastle United duo Mehdi Abeid and Siem de Jong handed caretaker manager John Carver a boost by returning to first-team training on Thursday.

Abeid has been struggling with a broken toe since sustaining the injury on international duty with Algeria in November – forcing him to miss the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Midfielder De Jong, meanwhile, has made just two league appearances following his move from Ajax, due to a serious thigh injury he suffered in September.

However, both players are expected to be in contention for a first-team place in the near future.

"Mehdi Abeid and Siem de Jong trained for the first time today," said Carver on Thursday. "Mehdi is further ahead than Siem."

Carver also delivered an update on the fitness of Gabriel Obertan, who has been sidelined with a thigh problem.

"Gabriel Obertan is about two weeks away from joining in with the team. He's in great condition and has worked really hard," Carver added.

Newcastle, still looking for their first win of 2015, host high-flying Southampton at St James' Park on Saturday.