KARL DARLOW has a chance to prove he deserves a new contract at Newcastle United, with Martin Dubravka tipping him to shine after being ruled out for the next six matches through injury.

The Magpies have been told Dubravka suffered medial knee ligament damage during last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Southampton when he left St Mary’s on crutches.

Even though head coach Steve Bruce hoped it was a precautionary measure, it has emerged Newcastle are braced to be without their No 1 shot-stopper for the majority of the run-in.

That means as well as a chunk of the remaining nine Premier League games, Dubravka will also miss the FA Cup quarter-final visit of Manchester City to St James’ Park.

Darlow should have a massive opportunity to prove his worth between the posts, with Bruce tending to favour him over the more experienced Rob Elliot in the cup games this season.

Darlow has tended to play the FA Cup games anyway, but now he looks set to play his first Premier League game of the season. His last league game was on February 4, 2018 at Crystal Palace when the two drew 1-1.

“We obviously set out our target to get as far as we can in that competition. So, to get there, we just need to carry on and hopefully progress further and further and see how far we can go," said Darlow.

“I just need to play as much as I can. Whenever I get the chance, I’ll do my best for this club. It’s nice that we’ve got another round. Hopefully, he’ll select me again."

The 29-year-old has largely been understudy in recent years having moved from Nottingham Forest with Jamaal Lascelles in August 2014. His current contract is due to expire in the summer when he will be a free agent.

If Newcastle decide they want to keep him, Darlow will be faced with the decision whether to stay on Tyneside and play second fiddle to Dubravka or head into a new chapter of his career elsewhere.

During the last two summers there has been enormous interest in him from the Championship but Newcastle have resisted offers for him from the Championship. Middlesbrough and Leeds United are two known to have been keen.

Dubravka, who has played 79 consecutive games in the Premier League, had a scan on Monday and he is wishing his fellow goalkeepers well.

"I was trying to be ready for every game - even if I had small injuries before with my back or with whatever," said the Slovakian, who is also set to miss his country's Euro qualifier play-off with Republic of Ireland.

"The people who know me know I want to play every time even if I'm not 100 per cent. Obviously, this is bigger than that so I can't play this (Sheffield United) game, but I'm quite confident that my team-mates, whether it's Karl or Rob, will definitely play very well. Now I'm going to support them from the stands.

"They show it on the pitch - Karl has shown it in the cup games - so I'm definitely confident and comfortable with whichever of the keepers will be in goal. I'm going to support them because they provide fantastic support for me as well.

"It means a lot because even Karl came to me the next day and asked how it was. You don't have that connection always and, I've said many times, I'm very grateful for that. Obviously, this is a chance for them now but it's good because we are still not safe and I'm quite sure that they will show their ability and show their levels."