By Matt Farr

Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden could be back in contention for the first-team squad in just over two weeks’ time, according to a report.

Hayden, 21, has been sidelined through injury for the last month, after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury back in February.

But after returning to training on Friday, the Newcastle Chronicle reported in their live blog on Monday (10:13am) that he could back in the squad to face Wigan on April 1.

That would mean just one more game on the sidelines for the midfielder, against Birmingham this weekend.

He has missed Newcastle’s last six Championship outings, including a run of four crucial fixtures with promotion rivals Brighton, Huddersfield, Fulham and Reading, of which Newcastle won just two.

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Hayden has been an important first team player under Rafa Benitez this term, making 32 appearances in all competitions.

His presence as a defensive shield has been greatly missed in recent weeks, but Newcastle will have been handed a major boost as he reportedly closes in on a return.

Newcastle will need to win against Birmingham to maintain their slim advantage in the Championship title race, after falling to a shock defeat at home to Fulham on Saturday.

Rivals Brighton are now level on points with the Magpies, and go up against Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday.

In other Newcastle team news, Benitez has revealed that Rolando Aarons is expected to be back from injury in a few weeks’ time.

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