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Pep turned down as Brazil manager - Alves

Brazil
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Taylor edging closer to comeback

Injured Newcastle defender Ryan Taylor has revealed he will travel to Lisbon with his team-mates for the club's Europa League quarter-final first leg against Benfica on Thursday.

• Blog: Spineless Newcastle

Taylor, 28, has missed the majority of the season after sustaining a knee ligament injury during the club's Europa League play-off against Atromitos in August.

Now nearing a return, the former Wigan man has confirmed he will travel with the squad as he continues to step up his recovery.

"It's only been seven or eight months. It's not that long when you think about it, but in footballing terms it's a full season," he told the Evening Chronicle. "It would be nice to put that in the past and concentrate on these last few weeks.

"I'm going to go to Benfica and do a bit of training out there and watch the game. I won't be ready for it, but I'll be out there with the lads. Hopefully, we'll go through. I might be available for the semis if we get through, who knows?"

Having initially hoped to pencil in a return for the Tyne-Wear derby on April 14, the club's medical team now believe the Premier League clash will come too soon for the player. Taylor does expect to play some part before the end of the current campaign, however.

"I'm just looking to get back before the end of the season," he said. "Atromitos was the last full game I played. It's quite astonishing, really. It does seem a long time ago. The gaffer made a joke that I might be fit for the final. It would be nice! I scored the first goal in Europe, and who knows, I could score the last goal! There's still a lot to play for."

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