Rafa Benitez has revealed on Friday that yet another injury has disrupted his preparations in this key period of festive fixtures.
Florian Lejeune (foot injury) and Jesus Gamez (recovering from an ankle operation) were already ruled out.
Also set to miss is Aleksandar Mitrovic, with the club still claiming it is a back problem, despite the striker telling Serbian media that he has never felt fitter and is desperate to play again, though accepts he has to leave Newcastle in January to do so.
Today though, Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Rob Elliot is now also on the sidelines.
The goalkeeper picking up a thigh injury against Manchester City which will keep him out for an unspecified length of time.
No indication from the club/Rafa on how long it will be but if Elliot is ruled out on Saturday then it would be logical to think there is no chance of him making Stoke on Monday either.
One piece of positive news though, is that Isaac Hayden is set to return to Newcastle’s squad for tomorrow’s match.
With the Irish international ruled out, it looks certain that Karl Darlow will return after being dropped only 13 days ago.
Despite conceding five goals in the West Brom and Chelsea matches, Darlow had done ok after Rob Elliot had himself being dropped after a string of poor performances.
However, Rafa Benitez was left with no alternative but to then drop Karl Darlow after only four games and bring Elliot in, following very soft goals against Leicester and Everton playing a massive part in the defeats.
Freddie Woodman will now be on the bench and despite his promise, it would be far too much to ask him to come in and play in a Premier League relegation struggle.
Rafa made clear in the summer he was desperate to bring in a new experienced number one but Mike Ashley thwarted that, as he refused to agree to the kind of wages needed for an experienced Premier League goalkeeper who would have no resale value.
Rob Elliot did well against Manchester City and saved a penalty at West Ham, though it was noticeable against the Hammers that he gave his defence very little help or confidence when they were put under pressure.
Whilst obviously we are all desperate to see more of a goal threat added in January, it is impossible to think that a new goalkeeper won’t arrive next month, even if only on loan. Even if Rob Elliot makes a relatively quick return to fitness, a new keeper is a massive priority.