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Hunger is back at Barca

Barcelona
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By ESPN Staff

Toon relief as Emre prepares for injury return

Newcastle midfielder Emre is close to a return as he fights both against injury and to clear his name.

The 26-year-old Turkey international has missed the club's last 10 games with a calf injury, a lay-off which has coincided with an Football Association charge of using racially aggravated words and/or behaviour during his side's 3-0 defeat at Everton on December 30.

It is an allegation Emre vehemently denies and, with the backing of his club, has vowed to contest strenuously.

A date for the personal hearing he has requested is yet to be set, and his extended absence from the side has inevitably led to speculation that the two situations are linked.

However, Roeder revealed last week that the club's £4million signing from Inter Milan was back in light training.

And, while he is likely to miss out on Saturday's crucial Barclays Premiership derby clash with Middlesbrough, he could yet figure in the UEFA Cup games against AZ Alkmaar next month.

The manager said: 'Emre's calf injury has gone on too long. We need a fit Emre on the football pitch, and that is what I am expecting to get.

'Saturday's game with Middlesbrough will come too early for Emre, but I expect he will be in contention for our game with Alkmaar next Thursday.

'I have watched him in training in the past couple of days and he is running and working hard. It will be good to have him back.'