Jamaal Lascelles says this Newcastle man was best player in Championship in his position

The Magpies defender has backed goalkeeper Karl Darlow to step up in the injury absence of Rob Elliot.

Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles has insisted that the club are in safe hands with Karl Darlow in goal as he was the best goalkeeper in the Championship in his time at Nottingham Forest, as quoted by the Mirror.

Darlow is likely to be the Magpies' first-choice goalkeeper for the remaining eight matches of the season as the club look to battle clear of the relegation zone and preserve their top-flight status.

Rob Elliot, who has been number one for most of the season in Tim Krul's long-term absence, was revealed to have suffered a knee injury which would rule him out of action for several months on whilst on international duty with Ireland.

That means that third-choice stopper Darlow and academy goalkeeper Freddie Woodman are the only fit goalkeepers left at the club, with Darlow certain to be called upon for the Premier League run-in.

Darlow has been called upon previous this season by Newcastle and looked far from assured on his only top-flight appearance to date, letting Darren Fletcher's header slip through his grasp to gift West Bromwich Albion a 1-0 victory in December.

However, Lascelles has insisted that Magpies fans should not be worried at the 25-year-old having to step in, describing Darlow as the best goalkeeper in the Championship when the two players featured together for Forest over the last few seasons.

The centre-back said, as quoted by the Mirror: "Karl can handle it. Honestly. He is a really good goalkeeper, given the chance — which he hasn’t had. He got thrown into the West Brom game late. No excuse [but] he maybe wasn’t prepared.

"Now he is keeper until the end of the season, and I spoke to him today about it and he is over the moon. There are no nerves. He is 25, and has played lots of games in the Championship. He is thrown in at the deep end in the situation we are in but he will be great.

"He has played 120-odd senior games. At Forest, he was the best goalkeeper in the Championship at the time. He has gone a bit unnoticed because he has been sat on the bench. Now is his chance to shine, and I am sure he will prove himself to everyone. He can become a hero."

Signed by Newcastle in the summer of 2014 after breaking through as a youngster at Forest, Darlow did not miss a single Championship match for the East Midlands club last season after being loaned back to the City Ground.

He has featured just twice for the Magpies this season since returning to St. James' Park, making his debut in a Capital One Cup tie in August before being called upon for the clash with the Baggies.

It will certainly be a baptism of fire for the 25-year-old, with Newcastle facing a hugely pivotal relegation clash against 17th-place Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

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