DAMIEN DUFF will be missing from the Newcastle team tonight against the club he left in the summer but manager Glenn Roeder will hand late tests to Emre and Nolberto Solano.

It is the left-back situation, with Celestine Babayaro suspended, that is giving Roeder most concern and he jokingly asked: "What are my options there? Pass."

The Newcastle boss is hoping that Solano will have recovered from a hamstring injury in time to play as a full-back, with his versatility meaning he could play on the left or the right.

But, if he doesn't make it, then Roeder knows he has a problem. Teenager Paul Huntington will have to make his fourth appearance in a row regardless. But he could be asked to play right-back, centre-back or on the left.

The Newcasle chief admits he is reluctant to break up the central defensive pairing of Steven Taylor and Peter Ramage that has served him well in recent games.

"Left-back is obviously a problem. It's a big problem for us. I know in my own mind what we will do but we are waiting on the fitness of Nobby. That could be key to what we do," said Roeder, who is also without Titus Bramble, Craig Moore, Stephen Carr and Olivier Bernard.

"I wouldn't want to shift Peter to left-back because he is building a good partnership with Steven in the middle. I could really do with Nobby being fit. I'm not saying he would necessarily play left-back. But he has proved recently that he's so versatile and he could play anywhere and give Newcastle a good performance."

Roeder has revealed that Duff, a £5m signing from Chelsea in the summer, has suffered a bad reaction to his knee cartilage after emerging for the last 22 minutes of Saturday's win over Watford.

It was his first appearance since suffering the injury at Arsenal on November 18 and Roeder said: "Damien had a bit longer out.

"We're not overly concerned at the moment but he is experiencing slight pain around the site of the cartilage operation that he has just had."