Thu 22 Feb 2024, 11:59 · Ash Harrison

Journalist says Nick Pope is ahead of schedule on road to recovery - he could return next month

Journalist says Nick Pope is ahead of schedule on road to recovery - he could return next month
Carl Recine via Reuters
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Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope has been out of action since early December after he dislocated his shoulder in the 1-0 win over Manchester United.

The (former?) England goalkeeper has been a huge part of Newcastle's success over the last two campaigns and was part of that record-breaking defence that kept 10 clean sheets in a row last season.

Things weren't so great for Pope this season with a few of his weaknesses exposed in several games, but since he's been missing, Newcastle have been leaking goals like there's no tomorrow.

The difference between Pope and Dubravka is very noticeable

Martin Dubravka has found himself back between the sticks for Newcastle and while he has made some excellent saves, he's also let in many goals - not all his fault, mind, the defence has been terrible, but the stats comparison between the two keepers shows a lot.

In his 19 games this season, Nick Pope kept seven clean sheets with an average of 92 minutes between conceding goals. Dubravka, in 14 games, has kept just three clean sheets with a goal conceded veer 43 minutes on average.

It's good news then, that Pope seems to be ahead of schedule with his recovery with Luke Edwards saying that the stopper is close to a return to training. The 31-year-old wasn't expected to be back until April, but it now looks like he could be training next month.

Will Newcastle be shopping for a new 'keeper in the summer?

It will then just be a judgment call by Eddie Howe and his medical team as to how quickly they can get him back into first-team action.

Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later so we can get our back-line shored up and push on to grab one of those sweet, sweet European places.

In the summer, it may not be a bad idea to start looking for a goalkeeper with ball-playing ability, though. As good a shot-stopper as Nick Pope is, my heart can't take it when the ball is played into his feet, you just never know what's going to happen.