By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Rob Elliot will be out for “months” with a serious knee injury, Newcastle confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.
The Newcastle goalkeeper was stretched off during the Republic of Ireland’s 2-2 draw with Slovakia on Tuesday night amid fears he was facing a lengthy period on the sidelines.
A statement on the North-east club’s website confirmed reports on Wednesday morning that Elliot, 29, has severely damaged his anterior cruciate ligament.
“Rob has returned to Newcastle and has been assessed this morning by the club’s doctor,” the statement explained. “He will now commence a programme of treatment and rehabilitation. Regrettably the severity of this injury will rule Rob out for a number of months.
“Everyone connected with Newcastle wishes Rob the very best for his recovery.”
The Premier League club stopped short of putting a definite timeframe on Elliot’s recovery but a cruciate ligament typically sidelines a footballer for around nine months.
Remarkably, Elliot is the second Newcastle goalkeeper to damage his cruciate ligament this season after first-choice stopper Tim Krul had his campaign ended by a similar injury while on international duty with Holland in October.
Elliot’s resurgence as a first-team player has now been halted in its tracks and he will miss the final eight league games of the season as Newcastle’s battle to maintain their top-flight status recommencs on Saturday with a visit to fellow relegation-battlers Norwich.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 30, 2016
Elliot’s absence means the inexperienced Karl Darlow will most likely step into his boots after making just two senior appearances for the Magpies since his 2014 move from Nottingham Forest.
Darlow’s only league appearance this season came against West Brom where he made a costly error late in the game to allowed Darren Fletcher to head home a winner.
Fred Woodman, 19, is also available for selection against Norwich and it means that Newcastle will be unable to approach the Premier League about an emergency loan with two stoppers fit.
In other Newcastle news, the club has been hit by an injury crisis in two crucial positions.