Newcastle United's first-choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka could be out until December after suffering a setback in his rehabilitation from injury.
The Slovakia international hurt his heel while on international duty on the eve of the new Premier League campaign, and it's now been revealed by a Magpies coach that his recovery from an operation is taking longer than expected.
Simon Smith, the goalkeeping coach at St. James' Park, took to Twitter to update fans on the 31-year-old shot-stopper's progress.
Smith, who played for Newcastle before moving onto Gateshead where he featured more than 500 times, tweeted: ”Martin’s injury is taking slightly longer than expected but anyone who has suffered from ‘plantar fasciiatis’ knows, it takes time...he is working hard in the gym to maintain his fitness and I am looking forward to having him back on the grass asap!”
Dubravka has become a fans' favourite since signing from Sparta Prague, initially on loan, back in January 2018. He's caught the eye with several impressive displays that have helped him record 26 clean sheets in 89 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies.
After staying injury free last season and being an ever-present in Steve Bruce's side, Dubravka has hasn't featured in the 2020/21 campaign so far and looks set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
That has left the door open for back-up 'keeper Karl Darlow to impress between the sticks, and he's done just that. The 30-year-old has only kept one clean sheet in his six top-flight games but tops the table for saves made in the Premier League.
Darlow has made just 25 appearances in England's top tier since joining Newcastle from Nottingham Forest five years ago and is currently making up for lost time in the north east.
Bruce's side have made a decent start to the campaign in Dubravka's absence, picking up eight points from their first six games.