FABIAN SCHAR is delighted Newcastle United fans are finally starting to see the best of him, after admitting it took him a little while to settle into life on Tyneside.

Schar joined Newcastle in a £3m move from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna in the summer, but only featured in one of the opening ten league games as Rafael Benitez displayed a reluctance to pitch him into the fray.

Benitez’s hand was forced when Jamaal Lascelles suffered an injury in last month’s win over Watford, and since coming off the bench against the Hornets, Schar has started all bar one of Newcastle’s matches.

He produced one of his best displays in a Magpies shirt to help secure last weekend’s 1-0 win at Huddersfield, defending resolutely on the left of a back three while also making some eye-catching contributions in attack, and with Federico Fernandez continuing to struggle with a muscular injury, the 26-year-old is set to be an important figure as Newcastle head into a run of four games in the space of 12 days.

“Now, I’m a little bit happier than two months ago,” said Schar, who moved to the North-East when Newcastle triggered a buyout clause in his previous deal at Deportivo. “It’s always good when you get opportunities to play.

“I’ve had a few games in the last weeks. I’ve been able to play, and also the team has been winning. I really like to play with my team-mates for this fantastic club. The fans give us big support, and I’m pleased to be on the pitch helping the team. I try to do the same every week.

“I knew before what qualities I have. Just at the beginning, I had to be patient to get a chance. Now, I have had some quite good games. I try to help my team and do my job – that’s all I can do.”

By contributing to last weekend’s success at the John Smith’s Stadium, Schar helped lift his side four points clear of the Premier League drop zone.

It was a crucial win against relegation rivals, and this weekend presents another opportunity to increase the gap to another team fighting at the foot of the table.

Fulham head to Gallowgate having won just one of their last 12 matches, and while Schar will find himself going head-to-head with former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-half sees Saturday’s game as a golden opportunity to maintain the current momentum ahead of a daunting Boxing Day trip to league leaders Liverpool.

“It’s important for all the teams like us to beat the teams that are around you,” he said. “These games are massive, and when you get three points away like we did (at Huddersfield), it’s even bigger.

“We could be pretty happy after the last game, but now we’ve got another important game against Fulham. We know how hard it’s going to be now over the next few weeks with a lot of important games, so you have to take every point you can get.”

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made Karl Darlow their number one goalkeeping target for the January transfer window.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is determined to sign a new keeper after Jamal Blackman was forced to cut short his loan deal from Chelsea because of a broken leg.

He has identified Darlow as his preferred target, and with four senior goalkeepers currently on their books, Newcastle will look to offload one of their shot-stoppers next month.

Ideally, they would like to sell Rob Elliot, who still has a year-and-a-half of his deal remaining, but if that proves impossible, they will be willing to listen to offers for Darlow, who has fallen below Freddie Woodman in the goalkeeping pecking order.

However, while Leeds would like to sign Darlow on loan, Newcastle would much prefer a permanent sale if they allow him to leave.