MATT TARGETT is set for a prolonged period on the sidelines after an ongoing heel issue worsened in the last few weeks.

Targett did not feature in Newcastle’s 18-man squad for this afternoon’s goalless draw with Leeds United.

The full-back has been nursing a heel problem for most of the season, but the injury has become more severe and will now necessitate a spell out of the side.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe said: “Matt has a heel problem. He’s been managing it for a couple of months, but it’s got to the point where it’s too painful for him to carry on.

“When I say a couple of months, I’m including the break in that as well. It’s disappointing – I think he’s going to be out for a period of time, although I’m not 100 per cent about just how long it’ll be at the moment. But it’s a nasty injury.”

It remains to be seen whether Targett’s absence will tempt Howe to pursue a left-back during next month’s transfer window.

When asked whether his plans could change, he said: “Not currently. We’re not close to anything, so we’ll see how the window unfolds.”