Gabbidon out for up to four weeks

Alan Pardew has received a blow with the news that Danny Gabbidon is likely to be out of action for up to four weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury during Saturday's win against Sheffield United.

The 27-year-old defender was stretchered off in the 63rd minute following a challenge by Christian Nade as he passed the ball back to goalkeeper Robert Green - just moments after he had rescued his team-mates with a superb last-ditch challenge to deny Nade a shooting opportunity.

A scan on Sunday morning revealed the extent of the damage, and the influential Welshman will now be hoping to return in time for the busy Christmas and New Year period.

Head physiotherapist Steve Allen says: "The scan revealed that Danny has suffered a grade two tear to his lateral hamstring muscle, and the estimated recovery time before he is back playing again is around four weeks.

"We are hopeful that he may be back sooner than that, but his recovery won't be rushed. We arranged the scan for yesterday so that he could begin his rehabilitation as soon as he arrived for training this morning, and he is already responding well to treatment."

Danny says: "Obviously it's a major disappointment for me. I hadn't felt any discomfort in my hamstring at all before the actual injury occurred, so it's just one of those unfortunate things that can happen.

"I am in good hands with the medical team here, though, and I hope to be back as soon as possible."

On a positive note, Danny's Welsh international colleague James Collins has made a timely return to full training following a groin injury, while George McCartney has proved an able deputy in the centre of defence during our last two home matches.

by Danny Francis