NEWCASTLE UNITED have suffered a double blow ahead of Sunday’s home game with Wolves after Fabian Schar and Andy Carroll were both ruled out through injury.

Schar’s problem is the most concerning, with the Swiss centre-half having damaged his knee ligaments during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.

The full extent of the problem is still to be ascertained, but he will not be involved in the Wolves game and could also be a doubt for the matches against West Ham United and Bournemouth that precede the next international break.

With Florian Lejeune still not quite ready to return after his own knee-ligament lay-off, Schar’s anticipated absence leaves Steve Bruce with a defensive headache.

He could restore Paul Dummett to the starting line-up, enabling him to stick with a five-man defensive shape, but both Dummett and Ciaran Clark are left-footed and neither would be a particularly natural fit as the right of Newcastle’s three centre-halves.

Alternatively, he could recall Federico Fernandez to his back five for what would be the Argentinian’s first league start of the season. Fernandez has made three substitute appearances in the Premier League, but his only start this term came in August’s Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester City.

Bruce could opt to abandon his five-man system and revert to a flat back four, but with the memory of last month’s league capitulation at Leicester still fresh in his mind, he will be reluctant to make such a radical change.

Carroll’s absence is less of a concern, although it is worrying that the injury-plagued striker is picking up minor niggles before he has even started a game.

He was complaining of a groin twinge in the wake of his substitute appearance at Stamford Bridge, and Newcastle’s medical staff have dictated that he should not be risked at the weekend.

He has played 89 minutes since re-joining the Magpies in the summer, and Bruce had been hoping to gradually build up his involvement with a view to starting him before the end of the year. It remains to be seen whether that plan is still feasible in the light of his latest setback.