Lejeune set for starting return on Monday night
Photo Credit:(Gettyimages.Serena Taylor)

Steve Bruce has lost two key centre backs in Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles to injury recently.

However, the return of Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune has provided Bruce with a much-needed boost in defence.

Lejeune has only played two reserve games in nearly 12 months so Bruce must decide if it is the correct time to put him back in the first team.

Come too soon

It may be more likely that the Frenchman starts on the bench with Paul Dummett playing alongside Schar and Federico Fernandez.

However, if Lejeune was to play it would give Newcastle United a different dimension as himself and Schar are comfortable bringing the ball out of defence and playing a long ball.

Lejeune has been eager to get back playing first-team football for a number of weeks and may eventually get his chance against Aston Villa.

Much needed boost

Despite coming through two reserve team games unscathed as well as more than a month of training, Bruce still has his reservations on thrusting Lejeune back into the firing line.

He said: “Where we have got one or two back fit, we have lost one or two with the internationals,

“The dilemma is, is he right? There comes a point, though, where the player can’t keep training and training and training. You have to throw them in at the deep end at some point, if that’s the right phrase.

“He is a good pro. He is first in, last to go. He has done everything he possibly can.

“He feels he is ready – and that’s the most important thing. If the player himself thinks he is ready – he knows his knee better than anybody. He has done all the minutes and is ready to go.”

Welcome return

Lejeune is thought to be well-liked in the dressing room and is seen as a very accomplished centre back.

Luck has not been on his side since joining the Magpies as he suffered ACL damage after a challenge from Harry Kane and then with nobody touching him against Crystal Palace in the same season.

To come back from two ACL injuries in less than 12 months shows just how strong Lejeune is mentally and physically.