Newcastle United have confirmed that Matt Ritchie has undergone a second operation on his ankle, and will be out for the rest of 2019.
The wing-back was understood to be closing in on a return to first-team action, but has now gone under the knife again after a recent setback.
Ritchie first sustained the injury back in August after a challenge from Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury.
The former Scotland international had initial surgery in October.
The club say they now expect the player to return in January 2020.
Newcastle have been going OK with Ritchie, with Jetro Willems stepping up to the plate in his absence.
But manager Steve Bruce has admitted (Chronicle) to missing the ‘effervescent’ 30-year-old’s experience and his influence in the dressing room.
It is a blow for the Magpies ahead of the frantic Christmas and New Year period, and he now accompanies captain Jamaal Lascelles on the sidelines.
Newcastle fans react
Lots of Newcastle fans were left cursing their luck on social media following the club’s announcement:
Not ideal but we do have enough players in his position to cover for the next 5+ weeks. Missing his leadership on the pitch more than anything.
— Andrew McVittie (@Andrew_McVittie) 28 November 2019
Exactly how I feel seeing this news pic.twitter.com/J2IheUG15P
— Kev Wood #NUFC ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️ (@Kevwoodh24) 28 November 2019
Basically gonna miss most of season.
— The Geordie Boot Boy (@BootGeordie) 28 November 2019
— Richard!⚽ (@Ding_RJ24) 28 November 2019
— Whose That Team (@Whose_That_Team) 28 November 2019
— NixaMattR (@NixaMattR) 28 November 2019
😡 gutted. need him back as he’s our natural leader
— Sean Graham ⚫⚪ (@piroski_7) 28 November 2019