Rookie Toon keeper set for Manchester United spot

INJURY SETBACK ... goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
INJURY SETBACK ... goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

GOALKEEPER Rob Elliot’s out of Sunday’s game against Manchester United – and rookie Jak Alnwick will be on the bench.

Elliot, pictured, has joined Newcastle United’s No1, Tim Krul, on the sidelines after suffering a groin injury in last night’s 3-0 win over Bordeaux at St James’s Park.

The 26-year-old – who made just one appearance for the club last season against Nottingham Forest – was replaced at the break by the experienced Steve Harper.

“Rob’s definitely out – I feel sorry for him,” Pardew told the Gazette.

“People hung that Forest game around him, that he wasn’t good enough, but in the three games he’s played, he’s been brilliant.”

Hexham-born Alnwick will be on the bench for the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

The 19-year-old, the younger brother of former Sunderland goalkeeper Ben, has represented England at Under-18 level.

“It’s disappointing that he’s hurt his groin, but we’ve got Jak in the background,” said Pardew.

“I think the gods will really be against us if Harps gets injured in the game.

“I don’t expect to use Jak, but it’ll be great experience for him. I’ve no problem putting him on the bench.”

Pardew praised Harper’s second-half contribution, with the 37-year-old making a good save from former Sunderland forward David Bellion.

Asked if Elliot’s injury gave him a headache, Pardew said: “I don’t think it does, actually, because Harps is fine.

“He was excellent in the second half.

“It’s difficult to come in as a goalkeeper halfway through a game, and Harps made some problems for us look very easy, in terms of cutting out through-balls, which he is brilliant at.

“But Jak will go on the bench. I have got absolutely no problem with Jak. He has done really well.

“We were thinking about loaning him out, so having him on the bench is absolutely no problem.”

“If he’s lucky, and we are lucky, he might get a win bonus.”

Meanwhile, Krul – who suffered an elbow injury on international duty with Holland last month – is expected to be fit for the Wear-Tyne derby against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on October 21.

The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd.