Michael Owen insists his comeback is on course as he continues his recovery from the injury which has ruled him out since the World Cup.
The 27-year-old has been out all season after sustaining a serious knee ligament injury against Sweden in Germany last summer.
It means the England striker has made only 11 appearances for Newcastle since his move from Real Madrid in the summer of 2005 but Owen is adamant everything is progressing smoothly.
He told The Times: 'Everything is fine, everything is on course and I am doing plenty of running.
'I have had the ball out too.
'I am not saying it is shooting practice yet but I can kick a ball, no problem.
'I've got the aches and pains going to bed at night and in a funny way it is nice to be feeling that way again because that is what you get when you're playing week after week.
'Having the ball at your feet gives you a big incentive. But obviously it was twisting and turning that caused the injury in the first place and that is what I have to get to.'
The former Liverpool forward also admits he is determined to return for the Magpies this season with the added incentive of the team's involvement in the UEFA Cup as well as international ambitions.
'There are loads of incentives to get back this season,' Owen continued. 'There is plenty to play for and plenty of good things on the horizon.
'I have it in my mind to play a game this season, at least a game, just so I can come into next season feeling fine.
'It would be nice to get a few in for Newcastle and everyone would love to play at the new Wembley and for their country.'