Newcastle United fans suffered a crushing injury blow on Sunday, with news emerging that Alexander Isak could be out of action until after the World Cup.
The striker has been out of action with a thigh problem, but there was hope last week that he could make the bench against Manchester United.
That did not happen, and now the 23-year-old could be a long-term absentee. After the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, Eddie Howe commented on Isak’s fitness.
He told the Shields Gazette: “He’s going to be out for a while. We probably won’t see him before we break for the World Cup.”
That is devastating news, especially after the speculation that he was nearing a return. Now we might not see Isak play for the Magpies until December when the Premier League recommences after the World Cup.
It is really disappointing, but it does create an opportunity for one of Isak’s Toon teammates.
Alexander Isak injury should give Chris Wood a chance
Chris Wood has largely been the forgotten man at St James’ Park this season. He has appeared in all but one game, but has only started once in the Premier League. That was the 1-1 draw with Wolves.
The 30-year-old’s minutes have been limited, first by the form of Callum Wilson then the arrival of Isak. Wood has very much been second choice to both of those players, and will continue to deputise for Wilson while Isak is out.
But with the number nine’s injury record, Wood is surely going to get some opportunities in the coming weeks.
With Isak out injured, Howe will have to be very careful with Wilson to ensure he remains fit. That might mean more minutes for Wood, meaning he could actually benefit from Isak’s injury.
The £25million man played well last season, but has struggled for goals in a Toon shirt. He’s got one this season – the winner in the League Cup triumph over Tranmere Rovers.
But with Isak’s injury and Wilson’s unreliability, Howe may have to lean on Wood more than anticipated in the first half of this season. Here’s hoping he steps up when called upon, possibly starting this week against Everton or Tottenham.