Newcastle United are expected to confirm that goalkeeper Rob Elliot will miss the rest of the season and the summer's European Championships, after suffering a serious knee injury in the Republic of Ireland's draw with Slovakia.
The 29-year-old was stretchered from the field just 16 minutes in to the 2-2 stalemate at the Aviva Stadium and was in clear distress after sinking to the turf while Miroslav Stoch gave the visitors a first half lead.
Elliot will return to his club on Wednesday [30 March] to have the injury assessed by medical officials at St James' Park and an update regarding his condition will follow in due course. The blow leaves Rafael Benitez with just one senior goalkeeper in the form of Karl Darlow, who has made only one Premier League appearance during 19 months for the north-eastern club.
Capped three times by Ireland, Elliot has been among the Newcastle team's most consistent performers of the campaign, during a season which threatens to end with relegation back to the Championship. The former Accrington Stanley stopper has been deputising for Dutchman Tim Krul, who suffered a season-ending knee injury of his own on international duty last October.
"Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot suffered a serious knee injury during Ireland's friendly against Slovakia on Tuesday night," a statement via the club's official website read. "The 29-year-old was stretchered off after 16 minutes of the 2-2 draw in Dublin. Elliot will be assessed by the Club's medical team on Wednesday, and a further update will be provided on nufc.co.uk in due course."
Elliot was expected to be in contention to form part of Ireland's 23-man squad for Euro 2016 but is now unlikely to feature again before the start of next season. "He's not great," manager Martin O'Neill said, according to Talksport. "He's got a serious knee injury. It's a real disappointment and obviously a dampener on the evening, particularly when he is getting his career together. It might be too early for me to be making those assumptions [that he is out for the season]."