LUCKLESS Davide Santon faces another THREE months on the sidelines – after his knee injury turned out to be worse than feared.
Santon had an operation on his knee in the summer.
SportMail revealed last month that Santon would miss the start of the season.
But the 23-year-old – the club’s first-choice left-back – isn’t expected to rejoin his team-mates on the training field until November.
And the Italy international will be playing catch-up with his fitness when he returns, having not featured since April’s home defeat to Manchester United.
“The news on Davide’s not particularly great,” United manager Alan Pardew told SportMail.
“He had an operation in the summer.
“When the surgeon looked at his knee, there was a little bit more damage there than he thought.
“It now looks like mid-November rather than October.
“He’s probably our (only) long-term injury.”
Pardew, however, is well covered for the left-back berth.
Paul Dummett – who started the club’s season-opener against Manchester City at St James’s Park last weekend – is backed up by 21-year-old Massadio Haidara.
Dummett is likely to keep his place for tomorrow’s Premier League game against Aston Villa at Villa Park, where Pardew’s side will be backed by 2,800 travelling fans.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a run in Pardew’s starting XI late last season while Santon was sidelined with a hamstring problem.
Ryan Taylor is also closing in on a comeback after two years on the sidelines.
Taylor – who twice ruptured his cruciate ligament – is steadily stepping up his training.
The utility player – who turned 30 this week – played regularly at left-back in the 2011-12 season when the club finished fifth in the Premier League and qualified for Europe.
Meanwhile, a Newcastle XI will play a friendly match against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on August 28 (7.30pm kick-off).