By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
United starlet Sammy Ameobi is confident he is "ahead of schedule" in his return from a knee injury.
Having made 13 first team appearances this season, the 19-year-old has been out of action since the start of January when he was forced off during a Reserve outing against Wigan.
But around six weeks since sustaining the injury Ameobi is off his crutches and positive he will be back in action sooner rather than later to play a part in Newcastle's run-in.
"I'm walking without crutches now, which is good and I think we're ahead of schedule," the forward told nufc.co.uk.
"There's still a bit of swelling there so I'm just waiting for that to go down before I can really push on. But it shouldn't be too long.
"It has been quite frustrating because I was playing well before I got injured, and everything was going well. It was a big set-back but I'm just going to have to bounce back and that's my plan.
"When the injury first happened I found it really tough to watch the team, knowing I was going to be out for a while. But I've got used to it now and I'm just trying to stick to the positives. Hopefully I'll be back soon.
"I've watched all the games. We're doing well, which is great, and hopefully I can be a part of that once I'm back."
Having come up through the ranks on Tyneside, one fixture which youth team graduate Ameobi would have been relishing is next weekend's derby against Sunderland.
But he will instead be kicking his heels in the stands at the Sports Direct Arena, and admitted: "I'm gutted that I won't be a part of the Sunderland game.
"It's a massive game for everyone involved with the Club, obviously because they are just over the road.
"It's a local derby and a big blow for me not to experience that, but hopefully we can go out and get a win, which is the most important thing."