Dwight Gayle is on course to return for Newcastle United in December, Football Insider has been told.
The striker, 30, broke down with a knee injury in late August that required surgery on 5 September.
Manager Steve Bruce confirmed at the time that Gayle would be out “three or four months”, which had first been revealed by this site a week previously.
A Newcastle source has told Football Insider that the striker is ahead of the worst-case scenario spelled out by Bruce last month.
He is progressing well in his rehabilitation and the club are hopeful he will be able to play again in December.
That would be a major boost to Steve Bruce, who has been unable to call upon the proven goalscorer for any of Newcastle’s matches this season.
Callum Wilson has led the line for all five Premier League games and lived up to his £20million summer transfer fee with four goals.
Club-record signing Joelinton has been deployed out wide to accommodate Wilson, while Andy Carroll has offered an alternative option up front.
The loss of Gayle has been keenly felt by Newcastle as he made a big impact in the final months of last season during the restart.
He banged in four Premier League goals from eight matches and had started to establish himself as the first choice up front.
The spearhead has entered the final year of his contract and turned 30 last week.