By Matt Farr

Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden insists the absence of Jonjo Shelvey was not the reason for their defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Monday.

The Magpies put in a poor display as they surrendered top spot in the Championship to promotion rivals Brighton, which also saw them fall to their third defeat in six games.

Jonjo Shelvey, who has been a star for Newcastle since arriving from Swansea in January 2015, missed the clash after being given a five-game suspension for using racially abusive language.

The six-time capped England international has contributed three goals and seven assists from 26 games in all competitions this season, and Newcastle were lacking that creative spark in Monday’s defeat.

However, Hayden denies the impact the missing Shelvey had on the game, insisting that the players cannot use it as an excuse for their performance.

He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “People are always going to say: ‘If Jonjo was playing…’

“But at the end of the day it’s a squad game. Jonjo doesn’t win games by himself. There’s still another 10 players out there that do the job and help the team.

“There’s no getting away from it, Jonjo is a good player and he’s been very important for us this season, but there’s no reason to use that as an excuse that because he’s not playing, we shouldn’t be able to win games or dominate games.

“We’re not looking for that as an excuse.

“Jack’s [Colback’s] come in and he hasn’t played in a while. I thought he ran his socks off and tried his best. At the end of the day the only thing you can do as players is try your best.

“Everyone did that. Some days it’s not meant to be.”

Newcastle dominated possession over Sheffield Wednesday, but did not turn their dominance into chances, and registered just four shots on target throughout the game.

Magpies top goalscorer Dwight Gayle did strike the woodwork early on, but that was the closest the home side got to making the breakthrough.

Rafa Benitez’s side now trail new league leaders Brighton by two points, following their convincing win over Queens Park Rangers.

In other Newcastle news, this unhappy Newcastle player wants to leave the club in January.