KIERAN TRIPPIER is facing a race to get fit for Newcastle’s survival battle after breaking his leg.
The England defender suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot after being sealed in the second half. 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Tripper, who scored with a free kick, faces six weeks out.
He said: “It’s really disappointing that the injury picked up. We’ve got some momentum and maybe it will continue.
“I will stay positive and work hard on my rehabilitation to get fit as soon as possible.”
The 31-year-old went for a straight X-ray before returning to St. James’s Park on crutches with his left foot in a safety boat, and is now undergoing surgery.
Trippier, a 12million signing from Atletico Madrid in January, has been at the forefront of Toon’s revival under boss Eddie Howe.
He has scored the winning goal in the last two games and even captained the team against Villa in the absence of Jamal LaSalles.
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Newcastle are unbeaten in four league matches with him – they have conceded just two goals and scored 10 points along the way.
Howe’s 17th-place team is now four points clear of danger and has played one game less than its nearest relegation rival Norwich.
But the Jordans are ready to go without a trapper for at least the next five games until the next international break at the end of March.
The club tweeted: “Kieran Trapier will be left for the upcoming #NUFC fixtures after breaking a bone in his leg during yesterday’s win over Aston Villa.
“I wish you a speedy recovery, @ trippier2.”
The former Spurs and Burnley fullback scored the only goal of the game as the Magpies won their third consecutive game in the Premier League.
Javier Manquillo is Trippier’s deputy but Newcastle are sweating over his fitness when Spenard stopped him on Sunday with a suspected ankle ligament injury.
Mankelo’s injury is not expected to be serious, but Emil Craft is likely to start in West Ham on Saturday if he does not recover in time.
On Trippier’s influence, Mags defender Dan Byrne said: “It’s a different level of quality that we probably haven’t had in a long time.
“He has won La Liga and he is a regular England international – he shows it and the boys feed him.
“She is a leader in the dressing room and we just watch and try to imitate her.”
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