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Coach Nathan Brown has spoken about the Newcastle Knights' preparation ahead of their Round 23 match against the Penrith Panthers at Hunter Stadium on Sunday. 

Utility Tyler Randell is expected to make a return to hooker following his recovering from a rib cartilage injury.

"Tyler trained the back end of last week and got through okay," he said.

"He was probably near enough last week, but thought we'd hold him one more week as we want him to finish off the year well."

The return of Randell means Danny Levi will now undergo back surgery. 

"The medical staff is trying to get him booked in asap. We made that decision now Tyler is back to full fitness as it's in the best long-term interest for Danny to go in now," Brown added.

The side will also welcome Mitch Barnett back from suspension with the possibility of Sione Mata'utia also slotting into the second row, depending on his recovery from a broken jaw. 

"Sione is back into team training and will hopefully get a clearance tomorrow," he said.

"He has an appointment with the specialist tomorrow and the specialist will make the decision at the end of the day. We are hopeful, but not 100 per cent sure.

"Barnett and Sione (Mata'utia) and the couple of game they played together, with Barny on the left edge and Sione on the right, they were probably our two better performances of the year, against Canberra and Melbourne.

"I would have thought they will have a good impact on the team, so hopefully they can both play."

Turning attention to this weekend's seventh placed opposition, Brown expects the Knights to meet a team that's determined to build momentum ahead the finals. 

"Penrith are a talented side and have some good acquisitions coming next year," he said.

"If they can make the playoffs this year, it will only enhance their performance for next year."

Fortunately the Knights welcome a seven-day turnaround between matches.

"The longer week is really good for our squad and gives the guys a good chance to work on a bit more positional and individual stuff," Brown said. 

"The longer weeks at the back end of the year have certainly been productive for us."

Be at Hunter Stadium this Sunday when the Newcastle Knights take on the Penrith Panthers. Buy your match ticket here.