Hull City are expected to make a move for Steven Taylor this summer if they can secure their Premier League status.
Steve Bruce signed Steve Harper from Newcastle United at the end of last season, and will be back for Taylor when the transfer window reopens.
The central defender has had a run of games since Fabricio Coloccini picked up a knee injury on New Year’s Day. But the Argentinian’s return has underlined Taylor’s place in the pecking order. Mike Williamson was retained for Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa, Taylor making way.
The sides meet in East Yorkshire at the weekend, but with Coloccini not thought to have suffered a reaction, Taylor is again likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.
The former England Under-21 international’s appearance against Cardiff City in the FA Cup third round was his first since being sent off on the opening day of the season. Injury and the form of Coloccini, Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa relegated the 28-year-old to the role of frustrated spectator.
It had prompted the 28-year-old’s agent Willie McKay to suggest his client would ask for a move in January, but nothing came to pass.
McKay said in December: “Joe Kinnear has promised Steven a new deal in January and he could be made available for loan if he is not going to be playing for Newcastle.”
Director of football Kinnear has since left St James’s Park but the new contract was not forthcoming, and while Taylor appears to have moved ahead of Yanga-Mbiwa in the pecking order, he is still relying on injuries and suspensions to get a game.
Former Sunderland manager Bruce is an admirer of Taylor’s and Newcastle will be open to offers for one of their big earners if he is not a first-team regular.
Next month marks the ten-year anniversary of Whitley Bay-raised Taylor’s (pictured below) Newcastle debut, in a Uefa Cup tie in Mallorca. Only Shola Ameobi has been at the club longer.
Meanwhile, midfielder Cheick Tiote has not given up on a top-seven position, despite the Magpies having seemingly been mired in mid-table for some time.
The gap to seventh-placed Everton is five points, although the Toffees have a game in hand.
It is an incentive to Newcastle and, according to Tiote, makes a nonsense of claims they have nothing left to play for this season.
“Every game is important,” said the Ivory Coast international, who returned from injury against Villa.
“We are in a good position, but if we win each game, we have a chance to finish in a better position.
“It’s going to be hard, but we need to believe and try to win every game.
“We’ve got more confidence now. We hadn’t won for a few games. We didn’t play as a team and we conceded too many goals. We take that to the next game.”
Seventh place in the Premier League could qualify for the Europa League if Manchester City beat Sunderland in this week’s League Cup final, and if the FA Cup is won by one of the teams to have already reached continental competition through the league.
The Magpies played in Europe last season, after finishing fifth in 2011-12. They blamed the extra demands of the Europa League for their struggles in the Premier League the next term.
The kick-off time of next month’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final has been delayed by five minutes so it can be shown live on Chelsea TV.
The St James’ game between Newcastle and Chelsea will now start at 7.05pm on March 11.