Newcastle United's nightmare has become a reality as an injury to Paul Dummett will rule him out until April, according to the Shields Gazette.
Dummett picked up a knee injury against Crystal Palace in the Magpies' last outing and it looks set to keep him on the sidelines for a prolonged period of time.
That is bad news for Newcastle, who have a serious lack of cover at centre-half. With Steven Taylor already on the treatment table and youngsters Remie Streete and Kevin Mbabu both out on loan at Rangers, there are just two recognised centre-backs in their current squad.
Newcastle will now have to go into every remaining game with Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson as their first-choice defensive pairing, and that raises its own questions.
Coloccini generally has the trust of the fans, even if this hasn't been his best campaign, but Williamson is considered to be a weak link by many at the club.
The rangy defender lacks mobility, technical ability and strength and has been exposed on regular occasions when picked by the Magpies.
|Season||Tackles per game||Headers won per game||Interceptions per game||Defensive duels won per game||Blocked crosses per game||Clearances per game||Appearances||Mins Played|
Williamson has been Newcastle's weakest centre-back in terms of tackling, intercepting and blocking, while he has also made the fewest number of clearances when compared with Dummett and Coloccini.
He is set to receive a run of games now, though, and that opens up another area of concern for Newcastle fans.
There is growing frustration around St. James' Park following John Carver's appointment and the last thing the squad need is another player who the supporters have serious doubts about starting on a regular basis.
It shows their lack of foresight in the January transfer window, especially as now could have been the perfect opportunity to give Streete or Mbabu a chance in the first-team, and Newcastle are likely to be regretting taking such a big risk with a lack of defensive cover.