Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark is set for a knee operation after limping off against Fulham, according to Shields Gazette.

Clark has been one of Rafa Benitez’s first choice centre-halfs this season, often chosen above the likes of Grant Hanley and Chancel Mbemba. However, the Irishman could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, after picking up a knee injury in the game against Fulham on Saturday.

Clark was part of a Newcastle United side that conceded three to a Fulham side who fully exposed the Magpies’ defensive frailties, just as they did earlier in the season when they hammered fellow Play-Off contenders Reading 5-0.

The defeat allowed Brighton to close the gap so that only goal difference separates the two sides. It also means that Huddersfield will have the chance to move within 3 points of top spot should they win their game in hand.

The injury to Clark only adds to the pressure currently exerted on Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard has a squad selection headache, with Dwight Gayle, Vurnon Anita and Isaac Hayden also out injured, Aleksandar Mitrovic misfiring and Matt Ritchie and Jack Colback on the brink of suspensions.

The extent of the injury is still to be confirmed, but the former Villa centre-back will undergo a knee operation in the week in the hope he may be ready for the Magpies’ promotion run-in.

For the meantime, Grant Hanley will most likely fill in alongside captain Jamaal Lascelles, but Benitez will be hoping that Clark’s injury is not a serious one, and that he can return to full fitness soon.




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