Premier League answer desperate Newcastle United plea ahead of Brighton as defensive injuries mount up

Newcastle United’s desperate end-of-season plea to the Premier League has been answered with the news youngster Kelland Watts CAN play in the final two games of the season.

The Magpies are without skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune and Fabian Schar for the final two top flight matches of the campaign against Brighton on Monday and Liverpool a week on Sunday, while Paul Dummett is ineligible.

That leaves Steve Bruce with just Federico Fernandez as the club’s only fit senior centre-half.

As a result, United are looked into the prospect of turning to 20-year-old Alnwick born central defender Watts even though he’d already turned out for two clubs this season – Mansfield Town and Stevenage.

And Newcastle have this afternoon confirmed the player will be available, after the Premier League gave the green light.

Speaking at his earlier press conference, Bruce said: “We’ve applied to the Premier League to see if young Kell Watts will be available because he’s been on loan a couple of times.

"Hopefully, they’ll come back and say he’s available, we’ll have to see.”

Players can make competitive appearances for just two clubs in any given season, according to FIFA regulations, but dispensation has been given.

Newcastle United's Kelland Watts (R) fights for the ball with Wolverhampton Wanderers's Niall Ennis (R) during the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy football tournament in Nanjing, in China's Jiangsu province on July 17, 2019.

Sweden international Emil Krafth could yet deputise for Schar on Monday at the Amex Stadium with Watts potentially on the bench.

“We’re without seven, possibly eight. Five of them are centre-backs, which is just ridiculous,” Bruce continued.

"It a big frustration of ours. Most people accept you’ll have one or two out, but seven or eight if a huge number, especially when so many are centre-backs. We knew there were going to be difficulties ahead, but not to this severity for sure.”

Bruce revealed the nature of skipper Jamaal Lascelles’ injury, which will keep him out until the start of next season – while Fabian Schar is set to go under knife after specialist advice.

“Schar’s away to see a specialist, we expect him to need an operation,” said Bruce, who will also be without Allan Saint-Maximin on Monday.

“I remember at the Leicester game, we got three in half-an-hour. When something happens like happens to Fab Schar there’s nothing you can do about it.

"He’s gone over on his shoulder and unfortunately dislocated the thing. Jamaal Lascelles has a floating bone in his ankle, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett are straight impact ones. There’s nothing you can do about them.

"We’ve had our fair share, probably too many, so we will look and I will look and ask the question to see if there’s anything we can to do to improve. Over the season we have had far too many, and when we’re playing Wednesday-Saturday over the course of the season, we can’t seem to cope. We’ll have to have a look and see what we can do to improve.”