NEWCASTLE United have suffered another injury scare after Tim Krul was ruled out of Holland’s midweek World Cup qualifier with an elbow injury.
Krul joins Fabricio Coloccini in heading back to Newcastle for assessments after he picked up the problem in training on Saturday.
And like the skipper, he will return to Tyneside for United to carry out more tests ahead of the Everton game a week on Monday.
An injury to Krul would be a hammer blow to Newcastle, who already fear that Coloccini will face more than a month on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.
Coloccini did not travel with the rest of the Argentina squad to Lima for their World Cup qualifier against Peru yesterday and is set to jet back to Tyneside amid fears that his hamstring injury is a serious one.
Newcastle have steadfastly refused to put a timescale on Coloccini’s injury until he returns to Tyneside to be checked out by club doctors.
But first indications are that he is likely to miss the trip to Everton, plus Newcastle’s first Europa League group game against FC Maritimo next week.
Coloccini has not trained since picking up the muscle injury while training with the rest of the Argentina squad at the start of last week, but has remained in South America for treatment.
However, the Argentinian FA confirmed yesterday that he would not be fit for the Peru game, and would not join the rest of the squad on the evening flight to Lima.
Coloccini is expected to set off for England today and Newcastle are keen to get him back to the North East as soon as possible to make their own diagnosis.
A spell on the sidelines for one of Newcastle’s most influential players now looks inevitable. That is a worry for Alan Pardew, who is already without Danny Simpson and Ryan Taylor – two other defensive options facing medium and long-term absences respectively.
It means Mike Williamson will partner Steven Taylor in Premier League games, but with Pardew set to rest the Academy graduate for midweek games he will need to find an alternative for Europe and the League Cup. James Perch has recovered from a neck injury and could deputise but the only other specialist centre-back is young Australian Curtis Good, who is still settling into life on Tyneside.
Vurnon Anita and James Tavernier could also get the nod, which has met with support from Simpson.
“That’s the whole point of having a squad – you can’t have the same 11 playing every game of the season,” he told the club’s official website.
“The gaffer has said that is why he strengthened the squad over the summer. It may be young Tav, who has been around the first team for a while now and has shown in pre-season what he can do.
“Sometimes you need a chance like this to step in and try to do a good job.”
If Coloccini and Krul’s injuries come as blows, Pardew might be more heartened by events in the Ivory Coast over the weekend.
Senegal were defeated 4-2 in the first leg of their African Cup of Nations clash with Cheick Tiote’s Ivory Coast, but Papiss Cisse broke his duck for the campaign with a wonderful long-range header. Cisse’s form has been a concern this season but Newcastle will hope that getting on the scoresheet for Senegal kick-starts another flurry of goals when Premier League business resumes at Goodison Park in a week’s time.
It was less satisfying for Cisse’s Senegal team-mate Demba Ba, however, who didn’t start the match in Abidjan.
Ba took to his Twitter account after the game and re-tweeted one fan who asked whether his manager Joseph Koto was “mad” for keeping him on the bench.