By Coral Barry

Rob Elliot has been ruled out for at least six months after injuring his cruciate ligament on international duty – and Newcastle fans’ pain could be heard around the world.

The Newcastle goalkeeper has easily been the Magpies’ most consistent performer this season and has made a string of saves to keep the club within touching distance of safety from relegation.

Elliot, 29, has been so good he had been on the cusp of dislodging Republic of Ireland first-choice stopper Darren Randolph, but will now instead be heading for the operating table rather than the European Championships.

Newcastle are second from bottom of the Premier League table, but are still just three points from safety heading into the crucial showdown with fellow relegation-battlers Norwich on Saturday and supporters seem to think their position would be even worse without Elliot.

And they do not rate their chances without him.

The most likely replacement is Karl Darlow and Newcastle fans are torn between expressing terror and support.

Darlow has made just two senior appearances for the Magpies since arriving in 2014.

In other Newcastle news, the Elliot injury has sparked an crisis in the Magpies camp.