Steve Bruce will be fearing for the worst as Newcastle United await the results of Isaac Hayden’s scans amid claims of a potentially season-ending knee injury.
That’s according to The Northern Echo, who note that the Toon midfielder was left in considerable pain after a freak and accidental collision with Yves Bissouma during Saturday night’s 3-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Hayden’s knee appeared to buckle underneath him and he required five minutes of treatment on the field before being stretchered off in first-half stoppage-time, as United went on to extend their winless run to six games.
Hayden is expected to undergo a series of scans and X-rays to assess the extent of his injury, but is feared to have sustained significant damage meaning he is likely to miss Newcastle’s final nine games of the Premier League campaign.
There is a chance that Hayden may also be sidelined for the start of the Magpies’ pre-season training camp this summer, should the 26-year-old have sustained any ligament damage.
Bruce admitted after Saturday’s defeat that the injury did not look good, and now faces an anxious wait for updates on his key midfield anchor.
“It’s a knee injury. We don’t know the severity until obviously he has scans and X-rays, but it doesn’t look too good, that’s for sure,” the Newcastle head coach said.
Hayden missing the remainder of United’s fight for survival would come as a huge blow for the St. James’ Park natives, having opened 22 of his 24 Premier League appearances and only sitting out five fixtures thus far this season.
The £9m-rated enforcer had only missed two minutes of top-flight action in his side’s previous 10 games also, and could now leave big shoes for the likes of Jeff Hendrick and Matty or Sean Longstaff to try and fill in the weeks and months ahead.
Bruce will absolutely be fearing for the worst as Newcastle await the results of Hayden’s scans and X-rays, as a season-ending injury will come as a hammer blow for their hopes of survival after an apologetic and passive performance against Brighton on Saturday.
Hayden has been one of the few consistent stars of United’s tepid season and a saviour for Bruce on multiple occasions, by helping to plug gaps in defence as injuries and coronavirus have wreaked havoc on the Magpies.
“He’s been very valuable because of his versatility, of course, and that helps enormously,” Bruce said, via quotes by BT last month, after Hayden impressed at centre-half against Southampton while previously featuring at right-back.
Beyond his versatility, Hayden also breaks up opposition play like few others have been able to for Bruce this term, with only Arsenal loanee Joe Willock (2.6) averaging a higher number of successful tackles per Premier League game since his winter arrival, per WhoScored.
Hayden, who offers 2.2 successful tackles from three attempts, also ranks second to Willock (2) for interceptions (1.8), but is only dribbled past 0.9 times a game to the Gunners product being beaten on the ground a Toon-high 3.4 times.
His efforts also ensure Hayden ranks first at St. James’ Park for total interceptions (43) in top-flight games with 17 more than second-ranked Ciaran Clark (26) and Fabian Schar (26), along with a team-high 52 tackles – three shy of his total 55 recorded in 29 games last term.
Bruce will be hoping that Hayden can edge closer to his 2019/20 tally and still play a role in Newcastle’s fight for survival, fearing what impact his long-term absence could have on the Toon.
AND in other news, Newcastle’s hopes of signing a “standout performer” have taken a major blow…