Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles went off injured against Bournemouth, and Steve Bruce must bring Florian Lejeune into the side in his place when we head to Aston Villa.
According to the Sun, Lascelles could be out for three months, with Bruce having a decision to make over his replacement.
He told the Chronicle the French defender was “champing at the bit” to return, and stressed the player’s fitness has been “fine” in training.
While Paul Dummett was the defensive victim following the Leicester thrashing, it may be seen as harsh for him not to come back into the side for the Villa game.
But in Florian Lejeune, Newcastle have a player who can bring something different to the defence – the ability to pick out a pinpoint long pass.
As versatile a defender as Dummett is, he simply does not have that skill in his locker, and is why he should be kept on the bench again.
In a game where Newcastle, as the away side, are again likely to be looking to soak up pressure, and rely on the counter-attack, turning defence into attack is going to be pivotal.
Lejeune is the player who can do that with one pass, and if he can find Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron regularly, Newcastle will surely create chances by getting behind Villa’s defensive lines.
Schar may return, but Lejeune should still be in the team
Of course, if Fabian Schar regains his fitness over the international break, he could come in as a straight swap for Lascelles, and with the form of Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez, he may be tempted to leave them both in as well.
But even if the Swiss star does return, it would still not be a surprise to see Bruce bring Lejeune back in, at the expense of one of the in-form pair.
As unlucky as Clark or Fernandez would be, it is what Lejeune brings to the team that should see him as an automatic selection when fit.
Being a football manager is about making big calls, and leaving one of the two form players out, in favour of a player that has not played since 6 April, and has only managed game time in 12 of the last 50 Premier League matches, is certainly one of those.
If Bruce is bold and starts Lejeune at his former club, he may well reap the rewards as a result, and have the last laugh over the home fans who are likely to be jeering him throughout.