Newcastle United will be without captain Fabricio Coloccini for the next eight weeks, according to The Independent.
The 31-year-old Argentine injured his groin while training on international duty last week and was sent back to Tyneside having played no part in his side's 3-1 qualifying triumph over Peru.
Coloccini sat out Newcastle's hard-fought 2-2 draw with Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool and was soon after ruled out of this weekend's Tyne-Wear derby. Despite this, news of an eight week lay-off, if accurate, will come as shock to many given the initial lack of serious concern about the injury.
However the signs suggest that rumours of an extended absence are most likely correct as Coloccini has been granted permission to return to Buenos Aires to recover.
With Mapou Yanga-M'biwa suspended following his dismissal against Liverpool, Alan Pardew faces a dilemma as to who should partner the in-form Mike Williamson in central defence.
Paul Dummett came on as a substitute and scored against Liverpool on Saturday and has not put a foot wrong when called upon. However the 22-year-old plays predominantly as a left-back and is perhaps too inexperienced for a game as crucial as the Tyne-Wear derby.
That would suggest that Steven Taylor is in prime position to step in, however he too missed last week's tie with Liverpool and indeed has not featured since being sent off on the opening day against Manchester City.
Both Dummett and Taylor are local lads who will be desperate for a start against the club's fiercest rival. It is expected that the latter will be given the nod, but don't be surprised if Dummett does find himself alongside Williamson come Sunday.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.