Newcastle’s captain Jamaal Lascelles suffered an injury against Blackburn, but his absence against Cardiff wouldn’t necessarily be a huge blow.
Newcastle’s number six was one of four players to pick up a knock against Rovers. However, Rafa Benitez has confirmed that none are thought to be serious and all could feature on Saturday.
Lascelles faces competition
If all players are indeed fit, that leaves Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez, Florian Lejeune, Fabian Schar and Lascelles to compete for the centre-back berths. While Lascelles is the club captain, on current form, he shouldn’t be a certain starter.
Lejeune’s return to fitness is a huge boost. The 27-year-old put in a strong performance against Chelsea last weekend to put forward a case for him to start.
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Elsewhere, following his impressive midfield display midweek, Swiss enforcer Schar could easily drop back into defence. While Clark is the biggest doubt for the relegation clash with the Welsh side, the Irishman has proven he is a real threat in the opposition area as well as being steady at the back.
The Cardiff test is a massive game in United’s season. Of course, Benitez would love to have all his players available. However, central defence is arguably Newcastle’s strongest position, so an injury to Lascelles wouldn’t be the biggest loss.