The Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi will be out of action for at least a month after suffering a hamstring injury at the weekend, his manager Alan Pardew said yesterday.
Ameobi said he felt a twinge shortly after coming on as a 68th-minute substitute during Saturday's 1-0 Premier League win over Wigan Athletic at St James' Park which kept unbeaten Newcastle in fourth place.
Although the striker played on, Pardew said he could be sidelined until the beginning of December. "Unfortunately we lost Shola on Saturday so he's going to be out now for, we think, four to six weeks," Pardew told the club's website. "That's a blow to us. He felt something after about three mins of coming on, but still played on which just goes to show you what sort of a character he is. He'll be a loss to us and I think our fans will see that now – how important he is when he's not there."
Ameobi, 30, who has played more matches for Newcastle than any of the current squad, scored his first goal of the season last week when he hit an 86th-minute equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
Meanwhile, Newcastle's reserve goalkeeper Steve Harper seems set for a loan move to Championship high-flyers Brighton & Hove Albion after failing to make any appearances so far this season.
Newcastle have also moved to boost attendances at St James' Park by offering half-price season tickets for the rest of the season. From 2pm yesterday, existing season-ticket holders were able to buy additional season tickets at 50 per cent of the price.
Fans who purchase the extra tickets will be able to watch the club's remaining 14 Premier League home games at an average cost of less than £15 while children will be able to attend for £2.64 per match.
The offer means a standard Gallowgate season ticket, which would have cost £558 at the beginning of the season, now costs £207.
Although Newcastle sit fourth in the table after an impressive unbeaten start, they are yet to fill the 52,339-capacity St James' Park once, with this season's average crowd currently standing at 46,111.