Newcastle United have now been handed a fresh injury setback to their left-back Matt Targett with a heel injury sidelining the 27-year-old.
The Toon’s defender has been struggling of late with an ongoing heel injury which saw him miss the action at St. James’ Park on Saturday against Leeds United. And Hope believes Eddie Howe will now have to assess the extent of the injury to see if it will force Newcastle to reinforce in the January transfer window.
“Matt Targett has a heel injury. We don’t know what period side he’s going to be out for, again, Eddie [Howe] said he’d have to assess the extent of that injury likewise with Jonjo Shelvey before determining whether or not that would sort change their plans in the transfer market,” Hope said on his YouTube channel.
It has been a difficult campaign for the Englishman who has found game time few and far between under Howe with just 421 minutes of Premier League action to his name (via Transfermarkt).
The Northern Echo have claimed the 27-year-old has been suffering from this heel issue for most of the campaign, which has seen Dan Burn take on most of the action at the left-back spot.
Targett initially joined on loan from Aston Villa last season which saw the left-back become a regular in Howe’s starting XI with 33 appearances – all coming as starts – to his name in the Premier League alone.
However, it is apparent his ongoing injury issue has severely held him back this term with Burn being forced to move across the backline after making a claim as one of the starting centre-backs last season.
With Targett now sidelined through this latest injury issue, it has left Howe’s options stretched in the left-back spot with Burn the only other player to have started in that position this season.
Considering the Magpies are sat up in third spot of the Premier League table and chasing a spot in next season’s Champions League, it does feel as if improvements could be made at left-back due to Targett’s injury.
Burn has impressed defensively since returning to his boyhood club and has recorded numbers in the top eighth percentile for clearances and ariel duels won (via Fbref).
However, the 30-year-old does not provide much of an attacking threat with an average of just 1.77 progressive passes per 90 minutes and a dribble completion rate in the bottom sixth percentile (via Fbref).
Therefore, regardless of whether Targett’s injury is a serious one or not, we do think this is a position which could be strengthened during the January window.