sport

Coloccini closes on return

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hopeful captain Fabricio Coloccini will be back for this weekend's clash against Aston Villa.

Argentina international defender Coloccini has not played since New Year's Day when he suffered a knee injury in the 1-0 Premier League defeat away to West Brom.

Now he is approaching full fitness, and Pardew is hoping he could be back for Sunday's visit of Villa to St James' Park and help the Magpies find some sort of form as they are coming off the back of three straight defeats.

"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."

Cheick Tiote could also be available after missing the last two games with a hamstring problem.