Knee op rules Parker out for stricken Toon
Newcastle's injury woes have increased, with midfielder Scott Parker undergoing a knee operation this afternoon which will sideline him for three to five weeks.
The England player injured his right knee in the 4-2 win at West Ham on December 17 and was due to have surgery in London today.
Newcastle said on their official website: 'Scott Parker will go into a London hospital on Wednesday afternoon for a minor operation and is expected to be absent for between three and five weeks.'
The news could not have come at a worse time for under-pressure manager Graeme Souness, who has lost striker Michael Owen with a broken metatarsal.
Owen had an operation yesterday to insert a metal pin and will be out for around 10 weeks.
Shola Ameobi, Emre, Kieron Dyer, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr and Craig Moore are also injury absentees while Lee Bowyer still has two games of a suspension left to serve.
Souness, who had hoped Parker would not need surgery, yesterday insisted not even a squad as strong as Chelsea's could cope with such an injury crisis.
He said: 'When you look at the six or so players we've got injured, any team in the country would miss them.
'Take six of Manchester United's, Arsenal's, Liverpool's or Chelsea's best players away and see what type of team they could put out.'