Smith sidelined for three months
Newcastle United are a managerless club that are up for sale and now the club's misfortune has filtered down to the playing staff with the news that midfielder Alan Smith could be sidelined for three months.
The 27-year-old former Manchester United player needs to undergo surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot and is unlikely to play again this year.
Caretaker boss Chris Hughton said: "Alan Smith will have an operation which could keep him out for about three months."
Having inherited a squad already depleted by suspension and injury from Kevin Keegan, who quit as manager of the Magpies earlier this month, the news is a big blow to Hughton.
Newcastle suffered the indignity of losing at home to newly promoted Hull City in the first game of the post Keegan era the caretaker boss needs all his players fit.
Smith, a £6million Sam Allardyce signing, struggled to establish himself at St James' Park in his first season and has not figured at all during the current campaign.
But although the player is yet to win over the fans, both Allardyce and Keegan were delighted with his attitude and effort.
Indeed, it is understood one of the reasons for Keegan's resignation was the club's efforts to offload him, along with several other high-earners, as the summer transfer window drew to a close.