Gutierrez in line to return

The 31-year-old Argentina midfielder, who last featured for the Magpies at Cardiff on October 2, 2013,?? is in the squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Gutierrez, who is out of contract at the end of the season, looked to have played his last game for the club when he held talks with Velez Sarsfield earlier this month but has been brought back into the fold.

Head coach John Carver said: “I’m going to bring Jonas Gutierrez into the squad, and there’s a possibility he could be on the bench this weekend.

“That’s a huge lift for him, and for everyone else around the club, and certainly for the fans because I know how much they like him. I’m sure they’ll give him a good reception.”

Gutierrez was given the all-clear in November last year and returned to training on Tyneside the following month, since when he has been working his way back to match fitness.

Rumours had been circulating before Gutierrez was diagnosed that he was not playing because a certain number of appearances would automatically trigger the offer of a new contract, but Carver was quick to insist he was not under any instructions over the former Real Mallorca midfielder.

He added: “My situation with Jonas is that if I need to use him, I will definitely use him. I know there have been rumours about the board picking him, or this one picking him and that, but I make the football decisions and I will pick him when I think the time is right.”

Meanwhile, Carver was relaxed over the publication of pictures of three of his players – goalkeeper Tim Krul, defender Steven Taylor and midfielder Jack Colback – at the Brit Awards in London on Thursday evening.

Taylor is injured and Colback suspended for the weekend, but Carver said Krul’s presence along with his girlfriend was no cause for concern.

Carver said: “I cannot run a 24-hour surveillance over these players. I have got to trust them and I always trust my players.

“The pleasing thing is, Tim and Jack have come in this morning and have trained exceptionally well, so I don’t have a problem with that.”