BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has praised Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Chelsea.
Isaac Hayden struck deep into injury time to give Steve Bruce’s side a much-needed victory.
Amid several injuries to key players, the result offered supporters something to cheer about.
Crooks named Clark in his Team of the Week and was full of praise for the 30-year-old centre-back.
Clark has only played 11 times this season and is far from the first choice. Before a 1-1 draw with Wolves a fortnight ago, the defender hadn’t even made Bruce’s 18-man squad for five games running.
His return to form was a bonus, however, and Crooks was impressed.
He told BBC Sport: “It took superb defending and some wonderful interventions at the back by my Man of the Match Ciaran Clark to keep Chelsea at bay and his team in the fixture.
“Newcastle may be unlucky with injuries at the moment but Kepa Arrizabalaga gave them a glorious gift in the final minutes. Poor goalkeeping gifted Newcastle the victory.”
Clark formed part of the back three against Chelsea alongside Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez.
It was a ploy that worked by Bruce and three at the back could be something he utilises more in the future.
TBR Verdict – Clark comes up trumps to prove he still has a part to play
Newcastle signed the £35,000-a-week (Spotrac) ace from Aston Villa for £5 million in 2016.
Since joining he has played 84 times for the Magpies but is by no means a regular when everyone is fit.
All he can do as a peripheral figure, however, is continue to grasp his opportunities when they do come along.
On Saturday he did just that and Bruce now has some food for thought for future weeks.