Miguel Almiron missed the weekend defeat at Burnley, but if they are to get back on track against Crystal Palace, they must have the Paraguayan back to full fitness.
Without either Almiron or Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle looked completely devoid of any ideas in Lancashire, and despite deploying Joelinton in a wide role, he still struggled to get involved consistently.
The Brazilian did create the best chance of the game, but Dwight Gayle showed exactly why many fans would sell him in January, by missing the target from three yards out.
But without any pace along the front line, Steve Bruce’s side never looked much of a threat all afternoon, which was borne out in the fact they failed to register a single attempt on target throughout the whole 90 minutes.
Almiron may not have scored for Newcastle yet, and he may only have a single assist, but never has his value to the team been noticed more, than when he was absent on Saturday, as we wrote in the aftermath of the defeat.
Almiron’s fitness will be crucial to Newcastle getting points against Palace
The next game sees Newcastle hosting Crystal Palace at St James’ Park next Saturday, and it promises to be a tricky encounter for Bruce’s side.
The task will be made a lot harder if Almiron is not fit enough to play, and Bruce has to turn to Christian Atsu and Joelinton as his wide options again.
Atsu’s abysmal performance at Turf Moor should have been enough to see him jettisoned from any future first-team selections, but such is the lack of wing options for Bruce, he would likely turn to him again if Almiron does not make it.
Palace will be no push-overs on Saturday, and should Newcastle again be without the former MLS star, it will be hard to see just where any threat will come from.
But Bruce has hinted that it will be touch and go whether Almiron will be available on Saturday, and if he is, the manager will certainly breathe a sigh of relief.