NEWCASTLE UNITED’S defensive injury crisis continues to go from bad to worse, with Fabian Schar and Javier Manquillo having become the latest players to join the absentee list when they were unable to complete Saturday’s win over Southampton.

Who is currently missing for the Magpies – and when might they be back available?



The Northern Echo:

The Newcastle skipper has not been right since returning from his Covid infection, and is currently sidelined with a muscular issue that forced him off at the start of the second half in last month’s win at Everton. With Steve Bruce understandably keen not to risk any long-term damage, Lascelles is unlikely to feature in Monday’s game at Chelsea, although he is set to make a gradual return to training this week.


The Northern Echo:

Like Lascelles, Fernandez has been struggling with a muscular injury that Newcastle’s medical staff are attributing, in part at least, to the after-effects of a Covid infection. Fernandez has not played since failing to complete the 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United in mid-January, but has a chance of being involved at Stamford Bridge on Monday.


The Northern Echo:

Schar became the latest addition to the injury list when he damaged his medial ligaments in Saturday’s win over Southampton. The Swiss international ruptured the ligaments in his right knee, and with Newcastle issuing a statement confirming he will be sidelined “for several months”, there is a good chance he will have to sit out the rest of the season.


The Northern Echo: Newcastle United centre-half Ciaran Clark

The Irishman was not involved in Saturday’s game, but that was because of personal issues rather than injury, with his partner giving birth. Provided there have been no complications, Clark should be available to make a welcome return to the starting line-up against Chelsea.


The Northern Echo: Newcastle defender Paul Dummett has warned his team-mates they cannot feel sorry for themselves

More usually a left-back, Dummett is likely to spend the next few weeks slotting in as an auxiliary centre-half. He excelled as he returned from a three-week absence to make a crucial 23-minute substitute appearance at the weekend, although his injury record over the last couple of seasons would have to be a cause for concern.


The Northern Echo:

Hayden has spent most of his Newcastle career playing as a central-midfielder, but as his display against Southampton proved, he is more than capable of moving back to centre-half, whether as part of a five-man backline or a flat back four. Bruce hinted after Saturday’s game that the heart of defence might end up being his best position, and that is where he is likely to find himself for much of the remainder of the campaign.


The Northern Echo: Florian Lejeune is set to return for Newcastle

Should Newcastle have allowed Lejeune to leave on a season-long loan to Alaves in September? Given their current problems, almost certainly not. However, that horse has bolted, and it is now too late to shut the stable door. Newcastle had an option to recall Lejeune during the January transfer window, but opted not to take it up. It is now too late for them to revisit their decision.


While Lejeune cannot be recalled, Newcastle are understood to have the option of recalling 21-year-old Watts from his loan spell at League One side Plymouth Argyle if things become really bad in the next few weeks. Watts has started all 26 of Plymouth’s league games this season, and while his senior experience for Newcastle amounts to a 16-minute substitute appearance in July, he is at least match fit.



The Northern Echo: Newcastle United's Javier Manquillo and Watford's Gerard Deulofeu (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 5, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Watford. Phot

Manquillo was in obvious pain when he hobbled out of Saturday’s win over Southampton before the interval, and Bruce admitted after the game it is feared the Spaniard has suffered ankle-ligament damage. If that turns out to be the case – an update should arrive at Bruce’s press conference on Friday - he will not play again this season.


With DeAndre Yedlin having left to join Galatasaray on deadline-day, Krafth currently finds himself as Newcastle’s only fit, specialist right-back. The Swede replaced Manquillo at the weekend and performed creditably as the Magpies were eventually reduced to nine men. He hasn’t always been first choice during his 18 months as a Newcastle player, but he has rarely let anyone down.


The Northern Echo:

Whether Murphy has the defensive capabilities of playing in a flat back four is open to debate, but if Bruce was to revert to a five-man backline, the winger could definitely come into the reckoning to play as a right wing-back.



The Northern Echo:

The summer signing from Norwich has had his injury issues this season, and was cited as a pre-match doubt by Bruce ahead of the weekend because of a hamstring problem. He played against Southampton though, and produced one of his best displays in a Newcastle shirt as he helped keep the Saints out in the closing stages.


The Northern Echo:

The collapse of Ritchie’s proposed deadline-day move to Southampton may turn out to be a major blessing in disguise for the Magpies. One of the most versatile players in the Newcastle squad, Ritchie could deputise for Lewis or a repositioned Dummett if required.