LUCKLESS Newcastle United defender Davide Santon faces another THREE months on the sidelines – after his knee injury turned out to be worse than feared.
Santon had an operation on his knee in the summer, and was ruled out for the start of the season.
But the 23-year-old – the Magpies’ first-choice left-back – is not expected to rejoin his team-mates on the training field until November.
And the Italy international will be playing catch-up with his fitness when he returns, having not featured since April’s home defeat to Manchester United.
“The news on Davide’s not particularly great,” manager Alan Pardew said.
“He had an operation in the summer.
“When the surgeon looked at his knee, there was a little bit more damage there than he thought.
“It now looks like mid-November rather than October. He’s probably our (only) long-term injury.”
Pardew, however, is well covered for the left-back berth.
Paul Dummett – who started the season-opener against Manchester City last weekend – is backed up by 21-year-old Frenchman Massadio Haidara.
Dummett, who had a run in the side late last season when a hamstring problem sidelined Santon – is likely to keep his place for Saturday’s Premier League visit to Aston Villa at Villa Park, where Pardew’s side will be backed by 2,800 travelling fans.
Ryan Taylor is also closing in on a comeback after two years on the sidelines.
Taylor – who twice ruptured his cruciate ligament – is steadily stepping up his training.
The utility player – who turned 30 this week – played regularly at left-back in the 2011-12 season when Newcastle finished fifth in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, a Newcastle XI have arranged a friendly match against Northern League club Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Thursday (7.30pm kick-off).