Newcastle United have suffered an injury blow with the news that summer signing Harvey Barnes could miss months of the season due to a foot injury.
The £38 million buy from Leicester City limped off the pitch after just 12 minutes of Newcastle's 8-0 demolition of Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in the Premier League on Sunday.
Barnes, 25, was making only his second start for the Mapgies and manager Eddie Howe looks set to be without the winger for a chunk of what is a busy schedule of domestic and European action.
“Yes, we're fearing it's going to be [bad news]. It's difficult. I don't want to put a time on it until we get confirmation from the specialist, but I think it will be months rather than weeks,” said Howe.
“It's an injury to a part of the foot just below the toe. I think it's quite a substantial injury. We've had it scanned, we're waiting now for a specialist's opinion on what to do next, whether there's surgery involved or not.
“I don't think it was a tackle, I think it was just pushing off to run, a very unusual injury. I won't go too technical because I'm not medically qualified to do so, but yes, very unusual.
“He was down after the game because he knew it wasn't a normal injury where you feel a muscle and think that might be one or two weeks.
“This was a slightly more complex issue, and I think he probably feared the worst because there was no one around him and it was one of those mechanisms where he knew it wasn't quite right.”
Next up will be treble winners Manchester City at St James' Park in the League Cup third round on Wednesday night with Howe describing it as “the draw that no one wants”.
City are top of the Premier League having won six out of six games so far and already have one trophy in the bag – the Uefa Super Cup after Pep Guardiola's side beat Sevilla on penalties.
They came out on top against Newcastle when the two teams met in the Premier League in August when Julian Alvarez scored the only goal of the game at the Etihad Stadium.
Both clubs will be making major changes to their starting line-ups from their games at the weekend – which also saw City beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at home, despite midfielder Rodri's red card at the start of the second half – but Howe insists they will still be taking the League Cup seriously.
Newcastle were beaten by City's rivals Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in last season's final, as the Tyneside club still awaits its first major trophy since 1969.
“It is an important competition for us. Last year was amazing for us and we started off against Tranmere which was an incredibly difficult game. You have to go to some tough places in the early rounds and we have the ultimate test this time round.
“There is not one tournament that is more important than the other. I have told the players that. Our most important game is the next game and that is what we will do. We will focus our energies on that game and getting the best result we can.
“It's the draw that no one wants because for me they are the best club team in the world and have been for some time. The test is there for us and we also want to attack it and show that we have strength in depth and can compete on all fronts. This is the ideal place to show that.
“The spirit is high but I think nothing can replicate scoring goals. The rhythm was good at the weekend and different goalscorers as well. Long may that continue.”