By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Excuse the pun, but Steven Taylor believes he is reaching the football equivalent of injury-time in his rehabilitation from a ruptured Achilles.
The centre-back has been sidelined since last December, when he suffered the season-ending injury during United's home defeat against Chelsea.
Surgery followed, and since then Taylor has been working round the clock with Newcastle's medical staff to ensure he his fighting fit for the start of pre-season training in less than a fortnight's time.
On track to join in with his teammates again for the first time in seven months, the 26-year-old told nufc.co.uk that it is a huge psychological boost to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and he cannot wait to get going.
"Fitness-wise, I've just been maintaining my work rate and sticking to the programme that Derek Wright, Dave Henderson and Michael Harding (Newcastle United physios) have set for me," he explained.
"I'm feeling good at the moment and I've just got to keep on going. I'm going away with Derek for five days so we can work on my fitness in the heat, and I've no doubt he'll run me into the ground.
"We're into the final stages now and I'll be happy once all this running is finished. He trains me like he's Rocky Balboa's trainer and only lets me stop once I've collapsed on the floor!
"But seriously, Derek and the rest of the team have been brilliant with me so far this summer and I owe them an awful lot.
"In footballing terms, we're into added-on time with the injury now and I just have to keep going. It's sometimes like a 93rd minute run back from a corner, but you know you have to do it.
"Hopefully, come pre-season, I'm going to be a little bit ahead of the rest of the lads fitness-wise. I won't push myself too hard the first week back, but I will be like an excited kid in a sweet shop because I've missed playing so much."
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