FABRICIO Coloccini is out of Newcastle United’s games against Liverpool and Swansea City.
A scan has revealed the defender suffered a small hamstring tear in Sunday’s 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.
And that means Coloccini will sit out Newcastle’s next two fixtures, with utility player James Perch expected to line up alongside Mike Williamson in central defence in his absence.
Manager Alan Pardew has pencilled in his captain for a return against Bolton Wanderers on Easter Monday.
Coloccini was withdrawn at half-time at The Hawthorns after feeling a tightness in his hamstring.
The 30-year-old was hopeful he would only miss Sunday’s home game against Liverpool, but a scan yesterday showed he has suffered a grade one tear and Pardew will not take any chances with his fitness, such is the importance of him being fit for the Premier League run-in.
The news on Coloccini is countered by the expected return to fitness of Cheik Tiote, left, and Ryan Taylor.
Tiote has missed United’s last two games with a hamstring problem, while Taylor has been out for three matches with a calf strain.
However, Pardew is optimistic both will be available for the visit of Kenny Dalglish’s side to the Sports Direct Arena.
And Coloccini, at least, should be fit for the last six games of the season.
The West Brom win saw Newcastle move level with fifth-placed Chelsea on points and a return to European competition is the aim for Pardew and his players between now and the end of the campaign.
Sixth place will be enough to secure a Europa League place, should Liverpool beat Everton in their FA Cup semi-final next month.