Scotland international Matt Ritchie is expected to be out for up two months due to an ankle injury in a major blow to struggling Premier League side Newcastle.
The 29-year-old midfielder suffered ligament damage and cuts, which required stitches, following a tackle by Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury in the League Cup clash on Wednesday.
Ritchie’s injury could not come at a worse time for Newcastle who is struggling in the league with just three points — a surprise win over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend — from the first three matches.
“It’s not great news,” said Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, speaking at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s game with bottom side Watford.
“We think he’s going to be maybe two months, eight weeks.
“There is ankle ligament damage too, bone bruising, cuts. The kid, as I said to you the other night, was a mess.
“Thankfully it’s not six months, but it’s bad enough when it’s the best part of eight weeks.”
Bruce wants Choudhury to learn from the experience although the latter dismissed the Newcastle manager’s assessment of it being a horror challenge.
Choudhury said he never intentionally hurts anybody and the 21-year-old midfielder added Bruce would do well to recall he was a no-nonsense defender in his playing days.
However, Bruce stuck to his guns on Friday.
“These tackles are the ones that damage you,” said Bruce.
“Let’s hope the young lad learns from it because he’s a good player, the kid.”