'Struggling' - Newcastle United star reacts after being ruled out of one Premier League game

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United saves the fifth and decisive penalty from Dominic Hyam of Blackburn Rovers (not pictured) in the penalty shoot out during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on February 27, 2024 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United saves the fifth and decisive penalty from Dominic Hyam of Blackburn Rovers (not pictured) in the penalty shoot out during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on February 27, 2024 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United saves the fifth and decisive penalty from Dominic Hyam of Blackburn Rovers (not pictured) in the penalty shoot out during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on February 27, 2024 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Martin Dubravka was the hero as Newcastle United progressed into the last eight of the FA Cup.

Newcastle United had Martin Dubravka to thank as they progressed into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory at Blackburn Rovers.

The Slovakian pulled off nine saves in normal time and extra-time before keeping out Sammie Szmodics and Dominic Hyam's spot-kicks. His heroics came just four days after he missed Saturday night's 4-1 defeat at Arsenal because of illness.

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"I’ve been struggling a little bit with my health," Dubravka said after the game. "We didn’t talk about it so hopefully everything is going to be OK. I’m just happy that I recovered, I needed a couple of days. I’m so happy I could play together and get through to the next round.”

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United saves the fifth and decisive penalty from Dominic Hyam of Blackburn Rovers (not pictured) in the penalty shoot out during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on February 27, 2024 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United saves the fifth and decisive penalty from Dominic Hyam of Blackburn Rovers (not pictured) in the penalty shoot out during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on February 27, 2024 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United saves the fifth and decisive penalty from Dominic Hyam of Blackburn Rovers (not pictured) in the penalty shoot out during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on February 27, 2024 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admitted the 35-year-old was touch and go for the visit to Ewood Park having struggled with his health for a long period.

"Yeah it was [touch and go], it wasn't clear," said Howe. "He was nowhere near fit for the weekend against Arsenal so he hasn't been 100% for quite a long period of time and has been playing slightly ill and he deserves huge credit for doing that."

Howe added: “It’s a difficult one because there is only so much I can say. I don’t want to talk too much detail about people’s health for obvious reasons but Martin hasn’t been 100% during the last period.

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"There have been a lot of players in our squad that aren’t 100% and have come back from injury with minimal game time and they’re thrust into action because our squad has been disjointed. It’s been the story of our season.

"It’s not where we want to be, we want players performing to their best. I think you can see today it’s still not there but the squad is looking stronger."

Following the recent return of Joe Willock, Alexander Isak and Elliot Anderson, Newcastle's absentee list is now at his lowest since the opening months of the 2023-24 campaign.

Howe's side host Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park on Saturday hoping to get their Premier League campaign moving in the right direction again after slipping to 10th in the table last weekend.

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