25 Sep 03
Woodgate Out For Six Weeks
Big Blow For The Toon
Jonathan Woodgate will undergo surgery on Saturday to repair a double hernia.
The 22-year-old England defender will be out of action for up to six weeks.
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson believes the operation can't be delayed any longer.
"We've had him Manchester and it has been confirmed that it is a hernia problem," he said.
The absence of Woodgate, the Toon's major presence at the back, puts a tremendous strain on their squad.
Robson will now have to choose two from Stevie Caldwell, Andy O'Brien, Titus Bramble and Aaron Hughes.
The former Leeds ace was absent from last night's UEFA Cup clash with NAC Breda at St James' Park.
And Robson's men, still smarting from their exit from the Champions League, showed signs they can cope without him.
United put the NAC Breda to the sword with an impressive 5-0 victory.
And Robson revealed how he had inspired his men to rediscover their best form after a disappointing start to the season.
"I said to our players, 'You've got to think that you're not playing Breda, you've got to think that you're playing Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, that's the level you've got to think you're playing against'," he said.
"'Now, whether Breda are going to be like that, I don't know, I don't care, you've got to think it's a difficult game and you've got to be full of running and have a winning appetite. The mood of the team has got to be outstanding.'
"And we went for it and we gave Breda a very difficult game. I didn't think for a moment we'd win by five - I thought we could win by two, something like that. I know the quality of our team."
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