Bassong to boost Shearer's options

Newcastle boss Alan Shearer could have defender Sebastien Bassong back at his disposal for tomorrow’s crucial trip to Stoke.

The Frenchman has returned to training after the groin injury which kept him out of last weekend’s 2-0 defeat by Chelsea.

However, Steven Taylor (ankle) and Jose Enrique (knee) have already been ruled out, as has midfielder Peter Lovenkrands, who was taken to hospital with breathing difficulties as the result of a chest infection during Saturday’s game.

Teenage striker Nile Ranger is included in the squad, while Joey Barton (fractured metatarsal) and Mark Viduka (Achilles) are expected to return to full training next week.

Provisional squad: Harper, Forster, Krul, Beye, Bassong, Coloccini, Edgar, Cacapa, Butt, Duff, R. Taylor, Gutierrez, Nolan, Guthrie, Geremi, Smith, Martins, Owen, Carroll, Xisco, Ranger.

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