Newcastle United suffering mini-defensive ‘injury crisis’ ahead of clash against Manchester City

They are yet to concede a goal this term, but Newcastle United will be sweating over the fitness of a few defensive options ahead of their clash with Manchester City.

Matt Targett missed the game with Brighton at the weekend after suffering a dead leg during their opening day win over Nottingham Forest.

Targett had been an ever-present for Newcastle since his arrival in January, save for the clash with Aston Villa that he was ineligible for, and his absence at the Amex Stadium caused a reshuffle of Eddie Howe’s tried and trusted defensive setup.

Dan Burn deputised at full-back whilst Sven Botman filled in at centre-back - and this could be the way United line-up to face City on Sunday with an unknown time-frame set on Targett’s return.

Matt Targett missed the clash with Brighton on Saturday through injury (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Speaking on the injury, Howe said: “He got a dead leg last week to his hamstring. We felt it was just a knock, but we had a scan and it showed very, very subtle damage to the muscle.

“We’re treating it like a very small muscle strain, but we’re hoping he will be back soon.”

Club-captain Jamaal Lascelles, who pulled-out of the squad to face Forest on opening day, should be available to face Pep Guardiola’s side.

However, defenders Emil Krafth, Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis and Javi Manquillo have all yet to make an appearance in a matchday squad this term after their respective injury troubles.

Jamaal Lascelles missed the opening day with over Nottingham Forest (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Further up the field, Ryan Fraser missed the trip to Brighton with a slight back spasm but Howe admitted post-match that the winger was ‘close’ to making the squad - meaning a return on Sunday could be on the cards for the Scotland international.

Newcastle’s visitors on Sunday travel to the north east with their perfect Premier League record still in-tact following 2-0 and 4-0 victories over West Ham and Bournemouth.

They have maintained this record even without Aymeric Laporte who has been missing since the end of last season following a knee-injury.

Nathan Ake, who had been linked with a move to Newcastle this summer, has been the man chosen by Guardiola to partner Ruben Dias in the heart of the City defence.