Newcastle manager Alan Pardew sees the return of captain Steven Taylor as a huge boost for the new season.
The 26-year-old has been out for seven months after rupturing his Achilles tendon during the Magpies' 3-0 defeat to Chelsea last December, but the centre-back has now returned for pre-season training and hopes to be ready for the August 18 kick-off.
Pardew has hailed Taylor's recovery and expects him to return to his best for the upcoming campaign - with Newcastle having boasted an impressive defensive record before his setback last season.
"I'm looking forward to having Steven running around and playing again," the Magpies manager told the Evening Chronicle.
"Having Steven back fit for pre-season is a big boost for us. He did very well last season before his injury.
"He's an important player for us, and we want everyone fit for what's going to be a tough season.
"He's hoping to have an injury-free season, and hopefully he will."
After deciding against bolstering his defence in January, the 50-year-old will be hoping to build on his side's fifth-placed Premier League finish last term, with the club so far linked with Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy and Twente central defender Douglas.