It appears that if this season gets back underway, Martin Dubravka will be fit and ready to reclaim his place in the Newcastle squad. Our superstar keeper has made 79 straight starts in the league since he joined two years ago from Sparta Prague.
His emergence as our clear number one has seen limited opportunities for both Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot. However, a knee injury against Southampton meant the Slovakian was set to spend at least a few weeks on the sidelines.
Darlow was in line to make his first start in the Premier League in over two years against Sheffield United before this season was suspended. The 29-year-old has started in all but one of our cup matches and played quite well, seeing us through to the quarter-finals in the FA Cup.
The Chronicle have published some comments from Martin Dubravka in which he shares how he and Karl are very supportive of each other despite battling for time on the pitch:
“We have had a conversation on the team group chat.
“I can understand his situation because he was ready to go back between the goal.
“I was ready to support him too because he’s been fantastic with me since I came here with the support.
“At the same time, the virus pandemic arrived.
“I would be happy if we could have kept up the season and kept going (even while injured).
“But at the same time, I now have the time to get ready for the next game.
“It is more difficult for the keepers because only one can be on the pitch.
“But at the same time, my team-mates will always be my friends, and that is important.”
It’s a shame for Darlow that he’s seen this opportunity slip away. However, under the circumstances, that’s hardly important right now.
The support Karl has shown Martin has been instrumental in the form of the Slovakian. In early March, Lee Ryder reckoned that it was Darlow’s performances in training that helped coax the best out of Dubravka this season.
This is what Lee said about Darlow when discussing who should start in the FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City:
“He’s a brilliant shot-stopper, but he is a little bit of a rung down from Dubravka, and I think maybe we’ve been spoiled a little bit with Dubravka.
“It’ll be really interesting to see whether Bruce sticks with Darlow, or goes back to Dubravka because let’s say they got into the semi-final, you’re going to pick your strongest team, aren’t you?
“With a week to think about it – that would be an absolutely huge decision.
“But Darlow is doing really well in training and from what I’m hearing from people at the club is that he’s training really well.
“He’s pushing Dubravka really hard, and I think that’s maybe one of the reasons why Dubravka’s performances are so good because there’s a good crop of goalkeepers there.”
It’s great to hear that both players are great friends and fully support each other as that has obviously paid big dividends on the pitch.