Massadio Haïdara cleared for rapid Newcastle return following challenge from Callum McManaman

French defender should be fit to play against Fulham on 6 April

Massadio Haïdara is expected to return to the Newcastle first team against Fulham on 6 April, with the injury he suffered against Wigan last weekend not as serious as initially thought.

Haïdara was taken off on a stretcher from the field at the DW Stadium, following a challenge from Callum McManaman. The Wigan player  escaped punishment as the referee, Mark Halsey, did not see the incident and the Football Association did not impose retrospective punishment as the assistant referee Matthew Wilkes had seen the tackle, but not realised its severity.

There were fears that the 20-year-old French defender, who joined Newcastle during the transfer window in January from Nancy, had suffered serious ligament damage to his knee and would face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

However, now that the swelling on the damaged leg has receded, scans have shown that Haïdara has not suffered a serious injury and will be fit to play in two weeks.

“We can confirm that results of the latest scan on Massadio Haïdara show that the player has very fortunately escaped any significant bone or ligament damage following the dangerous tackle by Wigan Athletic’s Callum McManaman on Sunday,” read a club statement. 

“We are very pleased that the extent of his injury is less severe than first feared and is limited to bruising to the bone and soft tissue damage. Depending on the speed of his recovery he should be fit to play again in early April. Massadio will continue to be assessed over the coming days.”

There is still great anger at Newcastle over the challenge, which provoked a huge reaction in the game. Managing director Derek Llambias has promised to campaign for the FA and the Premier League to change their current stance on attempting not to re-referee games after they have been played.

The Newcastle statement concluded: “He has been very lucky that he has not suffered more serious injury and this positive diagnosis in no way lessens the club’s views with regard to the severity of the tackle from which it resulted.”

Fabricio Coloccini, who was allowed to travel back to Argentina after breaking two bones in his back, is expected to arrive back in the North East on Tuesday.