FORMER Town loan keeper Steve Harper is set for a run in the Newcastle team as Kevin Keegan continues his survival battle.
That’s because Shay Given could be facing another bout of surgery on his problematic groin.
The 31-year-old Republic of Ireland international failed to reappear after the break in Saturday’s 5-1 Premier League defeat by Manchester United at St James’ Park.
He had aggravated the problem he had suffered at Aston Villa a fortnight earlier.
Given has already been ruled out of Saturday’s crucial visit of former club Blackburn to St James’, and there are fears that another operation is required after a string of similar problems.
The Rovers old boy is expected to see a specialist this week and it’s feared that should he need surgery, his season could be over.
That would come as a huge blow to both Given and manager Keegan as the Magpies attempt to halt their slide down the table.
However, Keegan will at least be able to comfort himself with the knowledge that in Harper, he has a more than able deputy.
The 32-year-old, who played 26 times for Town during the 1997-98 campaign, replaced his close friend at the break on Saturday.
And although he conceded three times, he was left cruelly exposed on several occasions and pulled off two fine saves.