Who knows where Newcastle would be without Martin Dubravka this season.
The Slovakian has been an inspirational figure in between the sticks, having played every single minute possible in the Premier League.
Dubravka picked up a knee injury in the 1-0 win over Southampton, but was able to carry on despite the collision with Shane Long.
However, the club have confirmed that Dubravka will be out for at least the rest of the month.
That means Karl Darlow will return to the side, which has worried some fans. There were even calls for Freddie Woodman to be recalled from loan, although that isn’t possible.
But is losing Dubravka as big a blow as it seems?
Dubravka out? No problem
The 31-year-old has been one of the best stoppers in the Premier League this season. He’s kept nine clean sheets, a tally bettered by just four other goalkeepers.
And no keeper in the top flight has made more saves than Dubravka this season, sitting top of the tree with 117.
However, he hasn’t been needed as much in our past two games.
Newcastle have kept clean sheets against Burnley and Southampton, but didn’t really have to rely on their goalkeeper.
The Clarets didn’t manage a single shot on target, while Southampton only forced Dubravka to make three saves – although they did play most the game with 10 men.
Since Newcastle have shifted to a back four, we’ve actually looked more solid at the back and conceded less chances. Therefore, Darlow coming in for Dubravka might not be as worrying as it seems.
We look pretty safe in the Premier League now, eight points clear of the drop with nine games to go.
The only crucial tie remaining is the FA Cup quarter final, a game which Darlow might have played in regardless.
Dubravka’s injury is certainly a loss, but it’s not one that will define our season. In Darlow we trust…