JOE WILLOCK will miss Newcastle United’s weekend game with Tottenham, with Eddie Howe unable to guarantee the midfielder will be able to return before the end of the season.

Willock hobbled off in the early stages of last weekend’s win over Fulham, having suffered a recurrence of the Achilles issue that kept him on the sidelines for a big chunk of the campaign.

The 24-year-old has been to see a specialist this week, with the latest medical update having been reasonably positive.

However, Willock will not be involved in tomorrow’s lunchtime showdown with Spurs, with Howe admitting Newcastle’s medical staff will have to continue to monitor the situation for the remainder of the campaign.

“Joe’s been to see another specialist to check on the progress of his Achilles,” said the Magpies head coach. “It’s been problematic for him. It’s been a difficult injury, it’s not been straightforward because he’s had a few complications through the process.

“The feedback was generally positive, in the respect that the Achilles is healing and doing well, but it will fluctuate from time to time and he will have moments where it is not feeling so good.

“For Tottenham, I probably think he won’t be available. There’s a chance he will then be available through the rest of the season, but again, that’s slightly unclear. We need to make sure the long-term prognosis for him is positive, and that might mean a short period of rest.”

Lewis Hall is also an injury doubt for tomorrow’s game as he not been able to train this week because of a muscular injury sustained at Craven Cottage.

If Hall was unable to feature against Tottenham, Howe would probably be forced to start with Paul Dummett at left-back, so the Chelsea loanee will be given every opportunity to prove his wellbeing ahead of the weekend.

“Lewis has not trained at all this week,” said Howe. “So, he’s been a slight concern from the previous game. It’s a tightness in his quad. There’s no muscle pull directly, but it’s been enough to see him miss training this week. He’s a doubt for the game.”

None of Newcastle’s injured players are set to return against Spurs, but a number are starting to close in on a comeback.

Tino Livramento should start training next week, potentially making him available for the trip to Crystal Palace, while the likes of Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson could also be in contention for first-team action by the end of the month.

“The closest player to coming back would be Tino Livramento,” revealed Howe. “He’s not joined in training yet, but he’s been more visible on the grass. He’s the closest.

“Other players are in the background and beginning to improve quite quickly, so I’m hopeful that, in the not-too-distant future, we could get three or four players back.

“Kieran’s doing well, he’d be one of the players in the background that’s starting to feel really good. He’s still not on the training pitch with us, but it’s positive signs and a positive outlook for him. Hopefully, he’ll be back soon.”

The injury prognosis is not as positive when it comes to Matt Targett and Lewis Miley, with the duo both expected to remain sidelined for the remainder of the season.

“Matt’s problem has turned out to be a bit more serious than we perhaps initially thought,” said Howe. “It’s an Achilles problem, so let’s wait and see on that.

“We’re talking it very, very cautiously with Lewie, with him being so young. At the moment, there’s no comeback date with him.”