Ordinarily, if a team were to miss one of it’s first choice centre-backs for as long as Newcastle United have been without Florian Lejeune, it would be a disaster.
The Frenchman has been a consistently classy act for the Magpies since arriving on Tyneside, and when he suffered ligament damage, not once, but twice, you may have been forgiven for fearing the worst.
Thankfully, however, he is on the mend, and it sounds as if manager Steve Bruce is in no hurry to rush him back into the fray.
As quoted by the Chronicle, the boss said: “The longer he trains, the better mentally and physically he becomes.
“To have the injury like he had then come back for six weeks & have it again – he’s had a tough time.
“When the time is right let’s hope we can introduce him.”
Perhaps that is an understandable stance to take, especially given how impressive those deputising for him have been.
This time last season, Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark couldn’t buy a start for love nor money, but this season they have been consistently superb for Steve Bruce’s men.
They may be unexpected assets, and they have indirectly profited from Lejeune’s absence, but it’s always a positive to know that the Toon Army have such strength in depth if and when it is required.