Geordie talent could make NUFC debut at Brighton as Bruce is hit with injury crisis – Report

The Chronicle are speculating that 20-year old Academy defender Kelland Watts may well get the nod down at Brighton on Monday, with us set to have just ONE fit senior centre-back (Fernandez) for next week’s trip to the South Coast.

About time I would say! Not necessarily for Watts, although he may be the recipient, but time to give the youngsters a game.

We actually didn’t play that badly against Spurs going forward but defensively we were awful and sad to say that Schar and Fernandez were two of the biggest culprits. Krafth and Yedlin hardly came away with much credit either, but in the case of Krafth he was once again played out of position.

Krafth is probably not a starting Premier League right-back but he did have two decent games in that position before being switched inside where frankly he’s looked out of his depth. Yedlin simply seems to have forgotten how to play football and what’s involved.

Fernandez looks absolutely lost and without Lascelles, who gets better and better with every game he misses, he’s played really poorly. Schar I have commented on before. Last season and at the start of this I thought we really had a player. Right now, he deserves to be nowhere near the squad.

Not that it matters of course as he’s been struck by the centre-back curse that seems to be running through the club and will miss the rest of the season via a dislocated shoulder. The way he’s been playing I thankfully think that’s a bonus.

Fernandez is our only available fit, senior centre-back for Brighton as things stand. Lascelles is out for 6-8 weeks after surgery therefore misses the rest of the season. Dummett, who would surely have played by now can’t as he’s ineligible and Clark is also out for the season.

Lejeune is close to returning but there are doubts over whether he’ll be ready for Monday. Even if he were would he be thrown in given his injury record and the fact he’s not played for so long? I doubt it, it’s not worth the risk. So, opportunity knocks for Kelland Watts.

Jack Young and Tom Allan were included in the squad at City, but the fact we’re so short on centre backs means he may be the player who gets a rare chance at first-team level over the next week?

Watts, an ex-Cramlington junior, is a 6ft 3” centre back that can also play in midfield. He’s one of our star men at U-23 level and played vs Wolves in the Asia Cup in Pre-season when Bruce first arrived.

He has been cleared to play despite two loan spells this season. The first was at Stevenage where he clocked up 20 first-team appearances from the beginning of the season before being recalled by us in January which Stevenage were disappointed about.

He was then loaned out to Mansfield where he made 7 starts for The Stags and actually netted a goal before Lockdown came and like his time at Stevenage he really impressed his loan club’s management meaning he could well go out on loan again next season.

But before that we have two Premier League games left. Given that we have so many injuries and others who seem to have their flip-flops on, surely now is the chance and time to give him a go. All we have to lose is two meaningless matches but they could be the making of Watts.

We certainly know he’ll care and give his all to impress and just imagine if he played against Brighton and came through that game unscathed. How much knowledge and experience could he then gain from playing against Liverpool! Bruce needs to be brave and send a message to the youngsters.

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