By Coral Barry

Rob Elliot couldmiss the rest of the season after picking up a knee injury during Republic of Ireland’s 2-2 draw with Slovakia on Tuesday night.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed after the game that the Newcastle stopper’s injury was “serious” and it means the Magpies go into their crucial clash with Norwich in the Premier League without their first or second choice goalkeeper.

Elliot, 29, has been filling in for number one stopper Tim Krul after the goalkeeper was ruled out for the season in October when he suffered a knee injury while on international duty with the Netherlands.

O’Neill was pessimistic about Elliot’s chances of returning before the European Championships in the summer but added it was too early to strike the goalkeeper off completely.

“It might be too early for me to be making those assumptions,” said O’Neill after the game. “He’s not great.
“He’s got a serious knee injury. It’s a real disappointment and obviously a dampener on the evening, particularly when he is getting his career together.”
Elliot’s absence will be greatly felt by Newcastle who are attempting to escape relegation in the final eight games of the season.
Karl Darlow is the third choice goalkeeper who has been acting as Elliot’s back-up and will be expected to step between the posts for the Norwich clash.
Karl Darlow

Step up: Darlow has made just one league appearance this season

The former Nottingham Forest player’s only appearance in the league this campaign was against West Brom and Darlow was subsequently blamed for conceding a late winner.

Newcastle are second from the bottom of the table but are still just three points from safety.

The Magpies must beat Norwich if they are to truly kickstart a relegation escape under new manager Rafael Benitez.

Newcastle collected their first point in five league games against Sunderland in their last league outing.
Norwich are currently occupying the final safe spot from relegation and are looking to put back-to-back wins together for the first time since January.