Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie will be out of action for the next two months, after sustaining an ankle injury during the Magpies' Carabao Cup exit to Leicester on Wednesday.
It was the narrowest of margins at St James' Park. After Yoshinori Muto's equaliser cancelled out James Maddison's first-half opener, penalties were required to separate the sides, with the visitors prevailing.
It was a tough one to take for Newcastle, and made all the tougher by the loss of Ritchie, who went off late in the first half after what looked a harsh challenge by Foxes midfielder Hamza Choudhury - later branded a 'horror challenge' by manager Steve Bruce.
BREAKING: Newcastle's Matt Ritchie has been ruled out for at least two months with ankle ligament damage sustained against Leicester in the Carabao Cup.— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 30, 2019
Sky Sports report that he will be on the sidelines for 'at least' two months, which will come as a major blow to manager Bruce's already depleted options.
“The mess Matt Ritchie’s in - it was horror challenge," Bruce said, as quoted by the Chronicle. "When I see the mess on his leg.
“We fear ankle damage, he’s got three stitches in his leg. I don’t want players sent off but when it’s horror challenges, it isn’t good.
“It’s a horror one, it’s over the top. Believe me, it’s a horrible one.”
Choudhury himself defended the challenge, however, saying it isn't in his nature to intentionally hurt an opponent, while suggesting that Bruce's former playing style renders his comments hypocritical.
"It was a 50/50, he pulled out last minute which made it look a lot worse," he said, via Sky Sports.
Matt Ritchie ruled out for at least two months with ankle ligament damage following “horror” Hamza Choudhury tackle. Allan Saint-Maximin will also miss the next three weeks with his hamstring strain. Steve Bruce has doubts over Almiron, Krafth & Willems for Watford too 🤕 #NUFC— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 30, 2019
"I don't know what I can say, I try to tackle, I've never gone in to hurt someone and unfortunately it has, I hope he gets better soon.
"I know Steve Bruce was a tough-tackling defender in his day, and people are quick to forget how they played football."