Matt Targett is pushing for a return to Newcastle United’s starting line-up, according to head coach Eddie Howe.
The 27-year-old hasn’t started a Premier League game since September through a mixture of illness and injuries. Targett was sidelined with a heel injury in late December and didn’t return to the squad until the Carabao Cup final.
A lack of match sharpness, plus the form of Dan Burn at left-back, has restricted the former Southampton academy graduate to just 13 appearances this campaign, only six of which have been starts.
Burn is likely to retain his spot for Friday night’s trip to Nottingham Forest, but Targett could give Howe plenty of food for thought after the international break.
“He is pushing,” said Howe. “Matt has trained very well since he came back to full fitness. Been really consistent. So yeah, he’s pushing, he is a top-quality player.”
There had been calls to reinstate Targett to the starting XI against Wolverhampton Wanderers last Sunday after a run of six games without a win but Howe kept faith with Burn and was rewarded with a 2-0 win.
Speaking about both players last month, Howe said: “We’ve definitely missed Matt. First and foremost, he’s a great player, a great character, a very, very consistent trainer, and someone who goes about his business in a very professional way.
“(They’re) very different attributes to Dan, and in his own right is an outstanding player. Having him back is a great boost for us.”
Get the latest Newcastle United headlines with our free football newsletter! Follow the action from St James’ Park and beyond as we bring the sport news to you. Visit our website here to sign up.