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By ESPN Staff

Duff back in training after long lay-off

Newcastle winger Damien Duff has returned to full training after almost seven months out following a serious foot injury.

The 28-year-old last appeared for the Magpies at Portsmouth in April when he suffered what seemed to be a minor knock.

However, the injury was far more serious than first appeared - and it was feared his career could be under threat.

The Republic of Ireland international has had two operations but is now on course to return.

Magpies boss Sam Allardyce told his club's official website: 'It's great to see Damien back in training. He is just starting to join in with the players, and there will be a period of time when he gets used to training on a day-to-day basis.

'He'll have to get used to the physical contact first of all, and from there we'll take it into a reserve match. We hope we'll have him back to the sort of level we know he can play at as quickly as possible.

'We're looking forward to having him back in the first-team squad, because Damien is a player of undoubted class who can play a big part for us this season.'

Duff has managed just 20 league appearances for the Magpies since his £5million transfer from Chelsea in July last year.