Steve Bruce believes it may be time for change at Newcastle United but expect a few members of the 'old guard' to ultimately benefit - regardless of the formation the Magpies' head coach opts for.

Matt Ritchie , Isaac Hayden and Dwight Gayle will be among those who are hoping for a recall for Saturday's huge game against in-form Burnley but whether Jonjo Shelvey is thrown in could yet be the biggest call Bruce has to make.

Newcastle's top scorer has not played since the 1-0 win against Chelsea last month because of a hamstring injury. As well as failing to win a league game since then, the black-and-whites have struggled to find the back of the net. You can see why skipper Jamaal Lascelles is hoping Shelvey returns against Burnley.

Saying that, the Magpies have been keen not to rush injured players back. Gayle had trained for a week-and-a-half before returning to the match day squad against Crystal Palace while Yoshinori Muto , who suffered a hip injury at Rochdale last month, has yet to be risked despite also training with his team-mates of late.

Shelvey, who had originally been 'touch and go' to feature at Arsenal earlier this month, was due to train last Sunday and Bruce admitted he could 'possibly' be involved against Burnley.

Newcastle have missed Shelvey's goals, set-piece delivery, ability to pick a pass and his nous. When it comes to being a little streetwise, this winter, Shelvey kept a cool head at the death to give Christian Atsu the signal to pull the ball back to him for his wonderstrikel against Man City and played to the whistle for his goal at Sheffield United.

While he is not necessarily the team's talisman - Shelvey's consistency has been the issue - the 28-year-old certainly brings something different in the middle of the park.

“He’s got that bit of magic there," Hayden previously said. "That’s the whole point of playing him. If everyone was the same, the team wouldn’t work. He’s got his strengths and he’s got his weaknesses like everybody else."

Shelvey, to his credit, has taken on Bruce's feedback when it comes to the work he does off the ball and according to Wyscout, a tool Newcastle analysts use, the playmaker has won 63.8 per cent of his defensive duels and 60% of his aerial duels this season as well as making 66 interceptions and 99 recoveries.

More than anything, Shelvey has shown he has the capacity to do the hard running and the stats that go up on the board at the club's training ground after every game prove it.

Newcastle United player Jonjo Shelvey attempts to win the ball back off Everton star Richarlison

The midfielder has pushed through the pain barrier for Bruce - undergoing shockwave therapy in the morning and after training to treat a longstanding thigh niggle -  and wanted to play against Burnley in December despite picking up a calf strain a few days previously.

In his absence of late, loan signing Nabil Bentaleb has filled in. While Bentaleb created more chances than anyone else in the FA Cup win against Oxford earlier this month, he is still building his match fitness after disciplinary issues at Schalke meant he did not play a first-team game for nine months.

Given Bentaleb's nature - he wants to do whatever he can to help the team - coaches tend to try and keep instructions simple for him and the Algeria international has rarely ventured past the halfway line in a Newcastle shirt.

But, on his day, Bentaleb is an energetic and tenacious midfielder and former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood previously told ChronicleLive about how 'if he just sits in your midfield then you're taking away 80% of what he possesses'.

Whether Newcastle fans get to see that side of Bentaleb remains to be seen as there are only 11 league games left this season and if Bruce is to shift to a midfield three, you feel it would be Sean Longstaff who is used in a more advanced role after his impressive display against Oxford.

Regardless, between now and the end of the season, expect Shelvey to have a key role to play as Newcastle look to get back to winning ways in the league. Sooner rather than later.