Newcastle United have been handed some good news ahead of their massive derby match against Sunderland with defensive duo Steven Taylor and Fabricio Colocinni both set to return from injury.

Alan Pardew has been without his first choice centre-backs in recent weeks but it set to welcome them back with both players taking part in training sessions throughout the week.

Fabricio Colicinni and Steven Taylor
Colocinni and Taylor could both return against Sunderland [Reuters]

There had been a concern over the fitness of goalkeeper Tim Krul, but he too has been involved in training and all three could yet feature against Sunderland on Sunday.

Sunderland are always a difficult side to beat at the Stadium of Light and with Steven Fletcher in impressive goal scoring form, Pardew will be glad to have the options to start his preferred backline.

Newcastle captain Colocinni has been out of action for close to a month, while Taylor had been struggling with the calf injury he picked up at Reading.

Both players played a critical role in Newcastle surprising everyone to finish fifth in the Premier League, thanks to a impressive defensive record.

Newcastle are currently two points ahead of Sunderland and will be hoping to achieve a similar result to last season when they kept a clean sheet and managed to pick up all three points thanks to a goal from Ryan Taylor.

Pardew confirmed that he should have his full compliment of players available for the trip to Sunderland, saying: "Hopefully we have all of our big players back."

Newcastle have held the upper hand in recent seasons and back in 2010 recorded one of their finest ever victories in a derby game when they ran out 5-1 winners thanks to a hat-trick from Kevin Nolan.

In fact Sunderland have won just one of their last 15 games against Newcastle and will be hoping to keep all 11 players on the pitch, having finished the last four games with ten men.