Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse and Manchester United defender Jonny Evans face being handed significant bans as The Football Association investigates a spitting incident during the Premier League game at St James' Park.

Television cameras captured both players appearing to spit at each other in the first half in an episode which was not spotted by referee Anthony Taylor, meaning the incident is eligible for retrospective action from The FA.

Spitting is punishable with a straight red card and a mandatory three game ban however a change in Fifa regulations at the start of the season, which The FA has adopted, is likely to see Cisse and Evans miss a minimum of six matches for the incident.

Cisse has already served a three-match ban for violent conduct for an elbow on Everton defender Seamus Coleman earlier in the season and this brings with it an additional one game ban, which would see the Senegal forward miss seven of Newcastle's last 10 league matches.

Though Newcastle do not play again until they visit Everton on 15 March, The FA will attempt to fast track the disciplinary process before United play Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final on Monday (9 March) to ensure Evans is reprimanded with immediate effect.

The Northern Ireland international will also likely be absent for the games against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City and potentially a prospective FA Cup semi-final at Wembley or trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Cisse faces being out until Newcastle's last three matches of the campaign, being absent for the visit of Arsenal, the Wear-Tyne derby against Sunderland and the trip to Liverpool in a serious blow to the Magpies' top half ambitions.

United manager Louis van Gaal was questioned regarding Evans' actions despite having not seen the video footage and responded: "I didn't see that from the bench. I think it was too far to see that. I cannot imagine Jonny Evans doing that."

Newcastle boss John Carver added: "I am aware of it now having seen the TV guys talking about it. I have not seen the incident, genuinely.

"I just saw a fracas on the halfway line and I need to have a look at it. The players have not mentioned it."