Now is the perfect time for Newcastle give this academy graduate his first-team chance

Newcastle United should hand Adam Armstrong first-team opportunities over the coming weeks.

Newcastle United have the perfect opportunity to test Adam Armstrong out in their first team, with Papiss Cisse set to be handed a lengthy ban.

Cisse was involved in a heavily publicised incident with Manchester United defender Jonny Evans on Wednesday and BBC Sport report that he could be handed a seven-game suspension by the FA as a result.

It means that Newcastle's striking options look desperately short, with their squad ravaged by injuries.

The Magpies do have the likes of Emmanuel Riviere and Ayoze Perez in their ranks, but neither looks to have the clinical edge to their game that Cisse possesses.

The Senegal international leads the club's goalscoring charts with 11 goals in 19 games this season and nobody else in Newcastle's current team has the capability to match those numbers.

Perez looks better suited to playing in a deeper role, where his trickery and skill can shine, while Riviere simply doesn't seem to have the quality to be a regular scorer in the Premier League.

It means that they are short of options and they can only benefit from giving Armstrong a run of games in their side.

Newcastle are pretty much assured of Premier League survival, but they don't look like climbing away from mid-table mediocrity and into the European spots.

It means that the pressure for results is not quite as intense as it once was and, therefore, the environment looks perfect for a youngster to develop in.

Armstrong has shown glimpses of quality during his first few senior appearances, but his chances so far have been fleeting.

The 18-year-old has been in and out of the side, with most of his opportunities coming in cup competition rather than in the Premier League.

John Carver would be well rewarded by testing him out at the top-level now, though, as it will serve both the player's and Newcastle's future well.

If Armstrong proves that he can cope with the demands of being the leading man, then Newcastle will have more firepower at their disposal for next season.

If, however, he doesn't look capable of making the grade just yet, then a decision can be made to drop him back down to their development squad.

Either way, Armstrong's progression would only be aided by having some senior football and if Newcastle do have a serious desire to bring through their more promising youngsters, as they have suggested on numerous occasions this season, then now looks to be the perfect time to prove it.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch