Toon striker blow
By Chris Stanton. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Newcastle manager Graeme Souness is facing up to the prospect of a striker crisis at St James' Park, after Michael Chopra suffered serious injury on Wednesday.
The England U-21 striker damaged medial ligaments in his right knee after only 15 minutes of a reserve outing against Leeds at Kingston Park.
Chopra will have a scan on Thursday to determine the full extent of the injury but the initial diagnosis of a month on the sidelines will be a major worry to Souness.
With an opening date at Arsenal a matter of days away, The Magpies have an injury doubt over skipper Alan Shearer with fellow frontman Shola Ameobi sitting out the game through suspension.
With the lack of options available to Souness, Chopra was set to be part of Newcastle's travelling party to Highbury and the striker knows the injury has robbed him of a chance to impress.
Chopra told the club's official website: "It's really disappointing, especially having worked so hard over the summer.
"I'd got myself in a position to challenge for a place at the weekend, with Shola suspended and Alan being looked at.
"I was thinking I may get a place on the bench on Sunday but that's not to be now."
Chopra's setback will now force Souness's hand in the transfer market, with the recruitment of a proven forward becoming ever more pressing.