Dan Gosling

By Dan King

Midfielder Dan Gosling has stepped up his recovery from a long-term knee injury as he nears a return to training with the first-team.

The Plymouth-born 20-year-old has yet to kick a ball for Newcastle since his summer arrival from Everton, as he was recovering from a cruciate ligament injury sustained playing for The Toffees against Wolves in March when he joined.

But the long road to recovery is getting shorter by the day, with Gosling doing some ball work with Peter Beardsley's Reserve team in recent days.

"I'm basically doing my pre-season now," the England under-21 man told www.nufc.co.uk at the club's Benton-based Training Centre.

"I've stepped it up over the last couple of weeks and I'm just building up my fitness really so I can go back to the first-team and not look like a fool!

"The knee itself feels good. I've just got to build up the muscles around it still, but that'll come within the next few weeks so I'm really getting there now.

"So it's just fitness and the latter stages of the muscle-building, and then I should be on my way.

"It feels like I'm back now, but I'm not quite there so I have to be careful, but things are looking up. I feel strong and it's a huge weight off my shoulders now, knowing I'm coming in and going outside and not just in the gym."