NEWCASTLE United defender Titus Bramble has warned Sir Bobby Robson that he is still in need of more match practice before he can return to the first-team scene.

Bramble made his comeback in the Reserves' 3-2 defeat at Manchester City on Tuesday night and experienced no ill-effects following a two-and-a-half month lay-off with hamstring trouble.

But the £6m signing from Ipswich, who first suffered the injury in the Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev at St James' Park on October 29, is refusing to rush back and has his sights on two further second-string outings.

That means manager Robson, desperately searching for a fresh centre-back option before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, must hope that Aaron Hughes, Steve Caldwell and Nikos Dabizas remain fit while Bramble builds up his fitness and Andy O'Brien nurses a nagging back injury.

Bramble said: "The hamstring is fine and it was important to get 90 minutes under my belt.

"I will be involved in the next couple of reserve games to build up my match fitness and get back into the first-team squad.

"It has been frustrating because it has taken a long time for the injury to clear up.

"I had hoped to be back for the Christmas period, but I had a little setback in training and it put me out for another couple of weeks.

"All I want to do now is get my head down in training and stay injury-free.''

Meanwhile, Schalke defender Tomasz Hajto has dismissed reports linking him with a move to Newcastle.

Hajto, who played for Poland at the World Cup, said: "I only know about the story from what I have read, nobody has spoken to me. The move is not an issue as far as I am concerned.''

Hajto recently signed a new deal tying him to German side Schalke for the next two seasons.

* Manchester United are reported to have emerged as possible rivals to Newcastle for Marseille's £8m-rated Belgium defender Daniel van Buyten.

Read more about Newcastle United FC here.