Harper passed fit to face Hornets

Newcastle keeper Steve Harper is set to retain his place for the Championship clash with Watford on Saturday after overcoming a back injury.

Last Updated: 04/12/09 at 13:46

Harper: Has overcome a back problem

Harper: Has overcome a back problem

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Harper was replaced by Tim Krul at half-time in last weekend's 3-0 win over Swansea after his back stiffened up, but will be fit.

Striker Andy Carroll has returned to training after recovering from the virus which sidelined him on Saturday, while midfielder Nicky Butt is also available after a troublesome calf injury.

Shola Ameobi could be involved for the first time since the end of August after a second week of training following a long-term foot problem.

Only Joey Barton remains on the sidelines with his own foot injury, leaving manager Chris Hughton with a series of difficult decisions.

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