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17th Mar, 2017 | 2:21pm

Newcastle dealt injury blow ahead of Birmingham clash

By Dominic Toner

Newcastle have been dealt a major injury blow as defender Ciaran Clark has been ruled out of the match against Birmingham.

The Magpies travel to Birmingham on Saturday for a Championship clash and will be looking to consolidate their position in the automatic spots.

Rafael Benitez’s side are currently top of the table, but third-placed Huddersfield are just six points behind and have a game in hand.

Newcastle will be without senior centre-back Clark for the important clash with Birmingham.

“Clark has a problem with his medial ligament – he will not be available,” manager Benitez said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.

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Clark was forced off in the club’s last match in the second-half with a knee injury and has been unable to prove his fitness in time.

The 27-year-old has been an ever-present in the starting XI this season and been one of the main driving forces in their bid for promotion.

He has made 34 appearances this campaign across all competitions and chipped in with three goals.

Newcastle will be looking for a new partner to play alongside Jamaal Lascelles at the weekend, with Grant Hanley and Chancel Mbemba possible replacements.

The Magpies will be desperate to return to winnings ways after picking up just one point from their let two games.

They recorded a goalless draw away to Reading, before suffering a 3-1 defeat at home to Fulham in their last game.

In other Newcastle team news, a Sky Sports pundit has predicted the clash against Birmingham.

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