By Tom Easterby
Goalkeeper Tim Krul is out of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Southampton with a knee injury.
The Dutch international, aged 25, sustained the knock in the second half of Tuesday night's defeat to Everton and will be replaced at St. Mary's by his understudy Rob Elliot.
"Tim won't play," confirmed manager Alan Pardew on Thursday morning.
"He's out for the next two or three games for sure, so Rob Elliot will come in.
"He (Elliot) has made his international squad, and he's keen to stay in that squad. He needs to play, so the opportunity has landed at his feet. Rob's a confident goalie, and he'll look to take that on."
However, the Toon boss revealed full-back Davide Santon has returned to training after illness, and 13-goal top scorer Loic Remy is also on the comeback trail, with April's visit of champions Manchester United a realistic target for the forward.
Fellow Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy, meanwhile, is still a fortnight away from a return to action as he continues to recover from a groin injury.
"Davide Santon is back in training, and that's good news for us. That's probably our full complement," said Pardew.
"We think Remy will train on Monday, which means that he's going to train over the weekend, so he's got a good chance for Manchester United.
"Mathieu, we think will be a bit longer than that - maybe another couple of weeks."