Joe Hart’s future in the Manchester City and England teams looks as shaky as his hands under a high-ball with his error-strewn campaign culminating in the headless chicken routine that allowed Chelsea to score a late winner at Stamford Bridge.
Costel Pantilimon will likely be handed the gloves for City’s Capital One Cup game at Newcastle and at 3/1 it is a good bet that Hart will also be on the bench for the Premier League match against Norwich that follows.
Pantilimon has kept five clean sheets in his past six City starts, including his only appearance this season.
Used as City’s cup keeper last season Pantilimon was a solid presence in their run to the FA Cup semi-final, with only Chelsea able to breach his defences.
This term Pantilimon started the 5-0 mauling of Wigan in the last round and could keep another clean sheet at St James’ Park, where City have won five of their past six matches against Newcastle.
Should the lofty Romanian keep the Magpies at bay, Manuel Pellegrini will have to consider playing him against the less fearsome prospect of the Canaries at the Etihad.
The gangly goalkeeper recorded 37 shut-outs in his final 100 games at Romanian club Poli Timisoara.
With little regard to the feelings of both Pantilimon and Richard Wright, people often state the fact that Hart has no credible contenders for his place at Manchester City.
Pantilimon helped Timosoara to second-place twice in three seasons in the Romanian top flight and cost City £3m when they brought him in permanently in 2012.
While perhaps no world beater, the 6ft 8in six-yard box sentry is an experienced head and surely could improve on the butterfingers currently in residence between the sticks at the Etihad.
Fraser Forster has helped Celtic break their clean sheet record twice in three seasons at the Scottish club.
Hart is also under pressure for his England place and is 19/20 not to start when the Three Lions face Chile in their upcoming friendly.
Forster is the main threat to his place as the 25-year-old has proved his credentials in both Scottish domestic football and Europe in recent seasons.
He has kept 61 clean sheets in 113 league appearances for Celtic so far, including 21 in each of his first two seasons at the Scottish champions, helping them to records of 23 and 25 SPL shutouts in those campaigns.