After initial reports claimed that he might get away without needing one, it has now been confirmed that Papiss Cisse had had surgery to try and sort out a groin problem.

The striker was last seen against Aston Villa in the 1-1 when he lasted only 33 minutes, before Aleksandar Mitrovic was forced into action as a replacement.

Returning to training last week, it was hoped that an operation could be avoided but that hasn’t proved to be the case.

The striker will be missing for a minimum of four to five weeks, which would see him definitely not be available for the next five games against West Ham (H),  Watford (A), Everton (A), West Brom (H), Chelsea (A).

The last of those games is on 13 February with a gap then of a couple of weeks until Manchester City (H) on 28 February – though that match is very likely to be moved as Man City are favourites to make it to the League Cup final that day.

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So the best case scenario is that Papiss Cisse would miss the next five and be available for only the final 12 Premier League matches.

Aleksandar Mitrovic looked a bit more the part in the Manchester United match but it was frightening to look on the bench and the zero alternatives, especially when it came to possible goalscorers.

Whilst he hasn’t been great, at least Papiss Cisse offers an option of a player with a track record of scoring goals, including crucial ones that have made the difference between survival and relegation previously.

The likes of Siem de Jong and Ayoze Perez aren’t suited to the role of main striker and Ivan Toney is surely nowhere near ready.

Newcastle MUST bring in another goalscorer in these next 18 days or else it is a gamble of huge proportions. Newcastle

I’m already having nightmares that Mitrovic drops a tin of beans on his foot just as Sky Sports close the transfer window and then Lee Charnley is out scouring the streets looking for the next Shefki Kuqi.

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