By Anthony Marshall
Captain Kevin Nolan is targeting a return to fitness once Newcastle resume pre-season training at the start of July.
The midfielder underwent an ankle operation earlier this month which ruled him out of the final two games of the Premier League season, meaning he was unable to add to his 12-goal tally for the term.
But while Nolan, 28, was disappointed to miss out on the draws against Chelsea and West Brom, he knew it was the right decision with the Magpies safe and the 2011/12 campaign on the horizon.
"The medical staff decided with the gaffer and myself that it was probably best to get it done now, as it is be a six-week lay-off and could have gone in to next pre-season," he told nufc.co.uk.
"We decided to get it done so hopefully I will be there or thereabouts at the beginning of pre-season and can be out there with the lads.
"I wanted to finish the season off, play the last couple of games and add to my goals, so was gutted I couldn't, but it was the most sensible decision for everyone. I'm glad it's done now though and am looking forward to working hard, getting back to full fitness and not having a problem with my ankle next season.
"It's been a problem for a while now. I've had a couple of operations on it before this one, but there was still a lot of scar tissue in there which needed removing. The doctor has been really careful with me and wants me to stay off it for as long as I can and not do anything daft.
"Every day it has taken a lot of maintenance just to get me out to train, but it's done now so hopefully I'm looking forward to a nice, new ankle now."