By Will Butcher

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot could be in line to return to the Newcastle starting XI on Tuesday night against Preston.

The Ireland international has been sidelined since March 2016 after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Serbia during national duty.

However, Elliot revealed that he has returned to full fitness on his personal Twitter account after revealing he is back in training with a picture of himself in full flight.

The goalkeeper’s return ahead of Tuesday night’s EFL Cup fourth round tie against Preston is a huge boost for Rafael Benitez’s side.

The former Charlton Atheltic stopper could be in line to feature against Simon Grayson’s side, with Matz Sels struggling to capture any kind of form and Karl Darlow likely to be rested.

Elliot’s injury struck during what many consider as his finest moment in between the sticks for Newcastle, as he made 22 league and cup appearances for the Toon during 2015/16 until picking up the knee problem.

English-born Elliot, who has had spells at Accrington Stanley, has four caps to his name with Martin O’Neill’s side.

The 30-year-old will have his work cut out if he wants to become a permanent fixture for the Toon, with Sels, Darlow, Freddie Woodman and on-loan star Tim Krul all in with a shout.

In other Newcastle team news, Ayoze Perez has shared the pressure he feels under Benitez’s rotation policy.