What’s the story?
With Fulham within a win after cutting a ten-point gap down to three, Bruce could see his side drop into the relegation zone for the first time since October 2019, in what could be a huge test of loyalty for the ownership.
Will they improve the side?
It seems harsh to be too down on Karl Darlow given some of his performances this season.
Still, he was questioned after letting Marcus Rashford’s effort at the near post beat him and, with those kind of doubts in mind, Dubravka is a proven replacement. Last season, he made the most saves out of anyone in the Premier League and does seem as safe a pair of hands as Bruce can possibly hope for in the battles to come.
Fernandez, meanwhile, is Newcastle’s most resolute defender at the moment. According to WhoScored, no one averages more in the way of clearances or blocks than the Argentine and that kind of last-ditch defending will be crucial as we move towards the business end of the season, particularly if the team have to press forward and leave the back door open, so to speak.
Necessary changes at this point in the season.
Two seasoned veterans of this Newcastle United side, they are Premier League proven players and do have attributes that would suggest they are capable of shoring things up at back.
With Callum Wilson out for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to imagine Newcastle being involved in many high-scoring games given the dearth of prolific options outside of him, so even making marginal gains in defence could help them grind out results.