Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara is looking forward to returning to full training on Monday, after spending the current week working with the physio as a precaution against further injury.

Turning 23 in December, Haidara last played in the win over Aston Villa in February. Forced off in that game with an injury, a subsequent operation on his knee problem ruled him out for the final three months of last season.

The French full-back says that he has enjoyed his summer and that it is important to get rest because the ‘season is long and hard’. Which a few people might find ironic due to Massadio Haidara only having started 17 Premier League matches in his two and a half years on Tyneside.

Fingers crossed that injuries stay away from the player this coming season but he is one of any number of players where the jury is still out on whether they are good enough for the Premier League.

With Davide Santon sold and no replacements as yet for the Italian full-back and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, numbers are short at the back.

With so many other positions desperately needing to be strengthened, it looks sure to be between Haidara and Paul Dummett as to who plays on the left.

Massadio Haidara:

“I have four days of extra training this week with the physio before I’m back on Monday for full training with the squad.

“It’s just to be safe, because they want to be sure I’m ready when I get back to full training.”

Important to rest:

“I’m well excited, because I had a four month injury. It was long and I had a break with some holidays so it was good for the head – I spent time on the beach and I enjoyed it.

“It is important to rest because the season is long and hard, so you have to have some rest.”

Good to be back:

“But now we have to work hard because the new season starts soon and I’m happy to be back.”

“When something is new, you are excited to start. We have a new head coach and I am excited to be back.”

Steven Taylor and Cheick Tiote are also reported to be in a similar position to Haidara, currently working away from the main group of players as they also return from long-term injury.