Newcastle United will have to play Chelsea on the road at Stamford Bridge without their no. 1 goalkeeper, Nick Pope, as the England international has been ruled out for the remainder of this season after undergoing hand surgery.
The operation on his injured left hand will force Pope to miss the upcoming and final Premier League game of the Magpies historical 2022/23 campaign, as well as the two Euro 2024 Qualifier matches that England will play in mid-June against North Macedonia and Malta.
The procedure was originally schedule for after this weekend, but with NUFC clinching a top-4 position last Monday thanks to their draw against Leicester the club decided to bring it forward a few days to avoid further complications and/or rehabilitation issues and delays ahead of next season.
According to Chronicle Live, Pope has actually played through for the whole second half of the season and after returning from the 2022 World Cup staged in Qatar. Pope joined Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson as part of the Three Lions contingent attending the international tournament last December.
With England playing qualifier games in a couple of weeks, Pope won’t be involved in those games next month, missing on making Gareth Southgate’s latest list of called-up players for such matchups.
Southgate has instead called on Everton’s Jordan Pickford, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, and Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone, while Martin Dubravka is expected to get the nod for Newcastle at Stamford Bridge this Sunday.
This injury and operation don’t feel like anything that should concern Magpie fans out there entering the summer and the season in which Newcastle will play in the Champions League for the first time since 2003, more than 20 seasons ago.
Martin Dubravka is expected to get the nod as the GK1 of NUFC in the game at Chelsea next Sunday.