By Alex Stevens

Marco Silvestri is set to miss the rest of the season in a major blow to Leeds – and fans have taken to Twitter to express their sympathy.

Manager Garry Monk confirmed on Wednesday that the goalkeeper has undergone an operation on his knee and is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Monk, who was speaking to the official Leeds website, as quoted by the club’s Twitter account, stopped short of ruling Silvestri, 26, out for the remainder of the season but admitted it was a strong possibility.

The back-up ‘keeper sustained knee ligament damage in training on Friday of last week and subsequently pulled out of the 3-0 Championship win against Preston 24 hours later.

Academy product Bailey Peacock-Farrell was named on the substitute’s bench for the Elland Road match and is likely to once again understudy established No1 Rob Green for Friday’s Championship showdown against second-placed Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Given that knee ligament damage usually means a spell of a least a few months on the sidelines, it is difficult to see any outcome other than the end of Silvestri’s campaign.

Fans took to social media to express their views, with some saying he would be missed and others hitting out at rumours that the keeper had faked an injury.

Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:

The injury is set to bring to a conclusion what has been a forgettable season for ex-Italy Under-21 international Silvestri, who lost his place as the first choice following the signing of Green last summer and has been forced to spend most of the season on the bench.

It remains to be seen whether Silvestri has played his last game for the club, although he has a year remaining on the contract he signed when he joined in the summer of 2014.

Leeds head to Newcastle in fifth place in the league aiming to increase their 72-point tally and nail down a top-six finish.

Rafael Benitez’s side lost to Sheffield Wednesday last week to drop to second but are still on the verge of securing automatic promotion and an instant return to the Premier League.

In other Leeds team news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.

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