Newcastle United‘s hopes of ending their 54-year wait without silverware were dealt a hefty blow on Saturday evening, as Eddie Howe’s side crashed out of the FA Cup following defeat to League One outfit, Sheffield Wednesday.
Just a year on from having suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Cambridge United in the Third Round of the competition, the Magpies were again undone at the same stage by lower-league opposition yesterday, having suffered just their second defeat of the season in all competitions.
A deadly double from one-time Rangers man Josh Windass ultimately proved the difference for the Owls on the night, with a late strike from substitute Bruno Guimaraes ultimately proving a mere consolation for the Premier League high-flyers.
That surprise result may well have left Howe questioning his decision to rotate his charges for the clash, with a handful of the northeast side’s peripheral figures having failed to make their mark against Darren Moore’s men.
One such asset who endured a particularly grim outing was forgotten man, Jamal Lewis, with the Northern Ireland international having been hooked after 69 minutes on what was just his third appearance of the campaign thus far.
The once-promising left-back – who joined the club on a £15m deal back in the summer of 2020 – illustrated just why he has slipped down the pecking order in recent times, having looked particularly “rusty” prior to his withdrawal, according to journalist Craig Hope.
The 24-year-old was unable to make his mark in an attacking sense as he failed to provide a single cross nor provide any key passes from his left-sided berth, while also losing possession on 13 occasions from his 52 touches as a sign of his struggles.
That limp showing saw the £38k-per-week dud record a match rating of just 5.6, as per Sofascore, with that figure by far the worst of any player for either side – further illustrating just how disappointing he was.
Having been a ‘bag of nerves‘ – in the words of Newcastle World’s Jordan Cronin – Lewis simply did little to warrant further game time in the second half of the campaign, with it unlikely that he will be involved in Tuesday’s pivotal, Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Leicester City.
With Dan Burn having nailed down the left-back berth in the Premier League – after starting 17 games in the top-flight this term – it is hard to see the former Carrow Road starlet forcing his way into contention, with yesterday’s meeting having been a rare chance to impress.
Amid reports that the Luton-born dud could be one of those moved on by the Tynesiders this month, it is not too hyperbolic to suggest that it could well have been Lewis’ last appearance for the club, with it hard to justify another run-out.
A player who is clearly not high on Howe’s priority list – having been left out of the Englishman’s Premier League squad for the second half of last season – it should well be time that the 5 foot 10 defender is finally moved on.