Chris Hughton has revealed that three of Brighton’s key players are now huge doubts for Saturday’s game at St James’ Park.
The Albion boss also completely ruled out a fourth player in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
This is fantastic news for Newcastle and will surely give them an advantage in what is a crucial fixture given recent results.
But which players are set to miss the tie and how will it benefit Newcastle?
Brighton’s injury list
Pascal Gross – Doubt
Gross was undoubtedly Brighton’s best player last season and a Premier League bargain at only £3 million.
The German racked up seven goals and eight assists across the 2017/2018 campaign, winning the club’s Player of the Season award.
But he has struggled for fitness recently and has not played in Albion’s last four fixtures.
He last played in a 2-2 draw against Fulham in September, but was forced to limp off with an injury early in the second half.
Although now back in regular training, Hughton has not rushed back his star player, which is good news for Newcastle.
Without Gross, Brighton lack a lot of creativity. Last season he assisted five more goals than the team’s next most creative midfielders and was a key creator for Glenn Murray.
Newcastle will be hoping Gross’ absence will mean less quality distribution for Brighton’s main man Murray, who is in frightening form.
Hughton stated that a late decision would be made on Gross’ availability following a fitness test.
Davy Propper – Out
One player Newcastle definitely don’t have to worry about this weekend is Davy Propper.
The Netherlands international picked up an ankle injury against West Ham a fortnight ago and was ruled out of Saturday’s match by Hughton.
The central midfielder is pivotal for Brighton in the middle of the park alongside Dale Stephens…
Other Doubts – Dale Stephens, Gaetan Bong
Hughton revealed that central midfielder Stephens and left-back Bong will also be undergoing late fitness tests on Friday alongside Gross.
If Stephens misses the game, Brighton will be without their starting central midfielders, giving Hughton some big decisions to make.
Should this be the case, Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame will be given a huge chance to dominate the midfield against a much weakened side.
Hughton will likely be relying on Beram Kayal to cover up his midfield woes after the Israel international impressed against West Ham in a 1-0 win.
But Brighton fans are still concerned about how the latest injuries will impact the squad’s chances, something Newcastle fans can take confidence from.
Brighton fans comment on injury issues
Propper & possibly Stephens and Gross out doesn’t leave us many midfield options. #BHAFC
— Joeeeeeeeeeey (@Sayers3011) 18 October 2018
Could Israel make sure they send us back Kayal in one piece? Otherwise we won’t have a midfield left #bhafc
— Kay (@kaybhafc90) 11 October 2018
I’m grateful for the options and selection issues this season. But, given how poor we were in possession last time out it would be dangerous to leave out Stephens if available. I like Kayal, but without Stephens or Propper we are quite simply not as good a side. #BHAFC
— The Tweeting Seagull (@TweetingSeagull) 17 October 2018