I would say that Newcastle United have been rocked by the loss of two of their senior men for the final two games of the season, but in truth we’re getting used to losing players to injury so it’s hardly surprising.
The news is that both Kevin Nolan and Steve Harper have/will undergo surgery on respective ankle and knee injuries with the aim of ensuring that the pair are fit and ready to join in with the pre-season programme which kicks off in July.
To be honest I can’t say I’m overly bothered. Sure it’s a shame that we’ve lost two players, but I’m sure we can cope for two games. Safety is assured and there isn’t an awful lot left to play for other than trying to get into the top ten so why not send them off now and make sure they are right for next season.
A club statement said: “Newcastle United captain Kevin Nolan will undergo a minor operation on his right ankle later today which will see him miss United’s last two games of the season.”
“The skipper has been troubled by an ankle problem throughout the season but the operation is going ahead now in order to allow him time to regain full fitness prior to the start of United’s pre-season programme in July.”
“Meanwhile keeper Steve Harper will undergo a planned operation on his left knee tomorrow with the aim also being that he is ready for pre-season.”
So there we have it, official and everything. Now we just have to try and work a way around the loss of those two.
To be fair, replacing Harper is easy. Tim Krul was already in goal so all it will take is a change of personnel on the bench with Ole Soderberg likely to get the nod. Replacing Nolan is a whole different kettle of fish however as we are already struggling with midfield injuries.
We could play Wayne Routledge on the right and slip Joey Barton into the middle, or we could rush Alan Smith back and play him instead. We could play Shane Ferguson on the left and switch Jonas Gutierrez out to the right. Cheik Tiote’s end of season break may have to be put on hold aswell, which could, and probably will, have a knock on effect for the start of next season. Plenty of options – none of them tested.
Something isn’t right with these injuries, although to be honest the injuries to Harper and Nolan have been fairly long-standing. I know Harper once said that he has trouble with his knees and will probably retire because of them while Nolan has been carrying an ankle knock for some months now. In fact a quick look at the archives shows reports of Nolan playing through an injury since as far back as February.
Still, at least they’ll be fine for next season. Maybe.
A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.