Newcastle sustained fresh injury problems ahead of the Tyne/Wear Derby as they were hurled out of the Capital One Cup like Jazz at the hands of Uncle Phil Banks.
Tottenham were the fresh princes of White Hart Lane as the Magpies were disposed of 4-0, but knocks to Jak Alnwick and Moussa Sissoko were of more serious concern ahead of the visit of detested rivals Sunderland this Sunday.
The Frenchman may have been taken off as a precaution, but Alnwick was confirmed to have suffered a shoulder injury, prompting a race against time to recruit an emergency loan goalkeeper.
He joins 11 of his colleagues on the list of those whose fitness for the great north-eastern rumble is either ruled out or less than assured.
As a result the 13/5 about the visitors taking maximum points from the collision is starting to look seriously appealing – especially when compared to the even money about a home win.
Key players such as Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Mehdi Abeid may be pencilled in to return for the fixture but none are likely to be at their sharpest having missed matches and training.
It’s hardly ideal preparation ahead of what can legitimately be called the Premier League’s most blood and thunder derby duel.
Even before Newcastle’s injury-blighted roster is considered, Sunderland would have been confident of pulling off a St James’ Park smash and grab.
Despite wildly changeable form over recent campaigns they’ve gone five Magpies meetings without defeat, winning the last three.
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Bolder Black Cats fans may way wish to wager on a repeat of the 3-0 victories they have enjoyed on Tyneside in each of the past two campaigns.
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