Newcastle United have been dealt another unedifying kick in the teeth after the club confirmed Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin will be out until April.
Newcastle’s flying forwards both picked up injuries during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Their names have been added to the seemingly never-ending list of players Steve Bruce is unable to call on.
Despite the pain this is causing Newcastle fans, the situation does open the door for other members of the Magpies squad to step up and show their worth.
Here are three Newcastle players we think could turn the nightmare around and drive the Magpies away from the relegation zone.
With top scorer Callum Wilson already on the treatment table, Bruce has been using Saint-Maximin and Almiron as auxiliary forwards.
To their credit, both players have performed well despite Newcastle failing to win any game since Wilson’s injury.
Losing Wilson, who has scored ten goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season, is a huge blow for the Magpies.
Now, Bruce will have to find a back-up to his back-up plan.
That may come in the form of Dwight Gayle, who’s in danger of becoming a distant memory for many Toon fans.
The 31-year-old has scored just one goal in nine appearances in 2020/21.
However, with Joelinton on a run of 11 Premier League games without scoring and Almiron and Saint-Maximin out, Bruce may have no choice but to try Gayle and Joelinton as a strike partnership.
Newcastle fans will be praying Gayle can replicate his 2016-17 form when he netted 23 goals in 32 games, albeit in the Championship.
Perhaps Joelinton can discover a bit of Brazilian magic and the pair can spark each other to find the net?
No-one would have expected Ryan Fraser’s summer arrival on Tyneside from the South Coast (Sky Sports) to turn so sour.
After signing a five-year deal as a free agent, injury problems have limited the diminutive Scotsman to a smattering of starts this season.
He did come off the bench to provide an assist for Jamaal Lascelles against Wolves, whipping in a cultured cross to find his captain.
Newcastle may have to rely on those type of scenarios in the absence of Almiron and Saint-Maximin.
While Fraser isn’t as direct as the speedy pair, he definitely offers a better delivery from out wide or at dead-ball situations.
It’s time for Fraser to show the form that saw him become one of the first names on the Scotland team sheet.
Another Scotland international and former Bournemouth man, Matt Ritchie, will be bursting to take another bite of the cherry.
Ritchie’s service to Newcastle has been admirable after leaving Bournemouth in 2016, amassing more than 100 matches for the Magpies.
But Ritchie’s loyalty hasn’t transformed into appearances this campaign. He has featured in just 12 games, starting eight.
Like Fraser, his distribution at set pieces and crossing is probably better than Saint-Maximin and Almiron.
But Ritchie will have to shake off the rust if Bruce restores him to the side.
At least the manager can rest assured he’ll get 100% effort from the Gosport-born man.
Newcastle have a crucial clash at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday at high noon. Defeat is unthinkable.
The Toon Army will hope at least one of their strikers brings their shooting boots with them.
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