Chancel Mbemba limped out of the match at Goodison Park 10 days ago, a massive blow after playing every Premier League minute up to that point and being by far Newcastle’s best defender this season.

The DR Congo international took a blow to the ankle and the way he limped off left you fearing the worst, plus following the match it was revealed that he would be going to see specialists in both London and Belgium to get their expert opinions. Hardly suggesting it was going to be a very short-term issue.

However, after being assessed in both England and Belgium, Steve McClaren says that the diagnosis is positive, with the defender out for only ‘a month or so’.

In Mbemba’s absence, Coloccini and Steven Taylor (and their team-mates) did a professional job on West Brom and kept a clean sheet, though they were up against surely the most negative team and poorest strike force in the Premier League in the shape of Victor Anichebe. Even supposed United target Berahino, who came on as a sub, looked overweight and disinterested when getting his chance.

With the Manchester City match postponed due to their League Cup final appearance, combined with Newcastle’s early withdrawal from both cups, it could mean that Mbemba misses only one more game – today’s Chelsea match when Coloccini and Taylor could be given a more thorough going over, especially if Diego Costa decides he can play in his mask after breaking his nose in training.

Steve McClaren says that ‘the consensus’ of medical expertise is that Mbemba could return within a month of that 3rd February Everton match, which according to the Head Coach means he is hopeful of having the central defender available by Stoke away (2 March), or failing that, Bournemouth at home (5 March).

Steve McClaren:

“From our reports, Chancel Mbemba could be fit for the Stoke game, or certainly the Bournemouth game after that.

“That is a bit of a plus for it – he went to London for a second opinion, then on to Belgium.

“The consensus is that with the right treatment he could be fit in around a month or so.”