Newcastle United have somewhat of a midfield crisis at present, but Fabian Schar could be the answer.

Kenedy was the latest to drop out of the match day squad through an injury to his toenail. Elsewhere, Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame have been missing from action due to knocks and strains. Ki Sung-Yueng and Yoshinori Muto are also away on international duty, leaving the Magpies threadbare at a crucial point of the season.

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While youngsters Sean Longstaff and Cal Roberts impressed against Blackburn on Tuesday night, Schar’s performance as a holding midfielder is sure to have pleased his boss.

Trial role for Schar

Isaac Hayden’s days on Tyneside are numbered, so Rafa Benitez trialled his tough-tackling defender in a new role. The Swiss international was having a dominant display too, so much so the Spaniard seemed reluctant to move him back to his regular role when Jamaal Lascelles succumbed to injury.

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Cardiff on Saturday is as close to a must-win game as there can be in January. The Magpies have a tough run of fixtures coming up, including Tottenham and Manchester City. Therefore, it’s vital that United don’t get cut adrift in the relegation zone.

With Benitez often setting up extremely defensive, Schar moving further forward may well suit his tactics. If Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles are both fit and Florian Lejeune returning to action, the central defensive area is probably the strongest position at the club.

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