JOHN Carver says Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley have admitted they made a mistake – by failing to strengthen Newcastle United’s squad in January.
Carver has just 13 senior outfield players available for tomorrow’s home game against Arsenal.
The club’s head coach is without suspended duo Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Demba Cisse as well as a clutch of key players sidelined with season-ending injuries.
Newcastle didn’t sign a single player in January’s transfer window, despite concerns over the size of the squad.
And defenders Davide Santon and Remie Streete were allowed to leave on loan, while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s temporary move to AS Roma was made permanent.
The exits of Santon and Yanga-Mbiwa – combined with a lack of incoming replacements, injuries and suspensions – has left Carver with a threadbare squad, something he says owner Ashley and managing director Charnley have recognised.
Asked if the club was now paying the price for a lack of investment, Carver said: “The fact that Lee and Mike have acknowledged that doesn’t make me feel better.
“But at least the people understand out there that that’s what happened.
“Now whether it was me or Pards (Alan Pardew, Carver’s predecessor), if he was still here, or whoever was here, that would be the same situation.”
Carver, appointed until the end of the season, harbours ambitions of taking the job on a permanent basis.
The fact that Lee (Charnley) and Mike (Ashley) have acknowledged that doesn’t make me feel better, but at least the people understand out there that that’s what what happened.John Carver
But the injury crisis has left him with a weak hand as he attempts to press his claims for the post.
Asked if the plans to strengthen have come too late for him, he said: “Yes and no, because I have always said, from day one, that I have got to deal with the situation, and I will.
“Now, who knows what they are thinking? They might take this into consideration. I don’t know.
“But what I won’t do is I won’t give up on it, I won’t think ‘well, I’ve got all those people out, that’s it. That’s me done, I’m not going to get this job’. I’m not going to think that way.”
Newcastle fans had hopes to see a centre-half arrive at the club in January.
Carver said he did have a conversation about a possible signing with the club’s hierarchy after taking up the reigns following Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace at the turn of the year.
“I had (Paul) Dummett,” said Carver. “We had Willo (Mike Williamson) and Colo. We had three.
“I’m sure there was a conversation about a centre-half, but it was about getting the right one and not just taking one.
“You know what it’s like in that window – you just panic and take somebody for the sake of it.
“Sometimes it works out for you, but who was to know this was going to happen?
“What I have to say is, take all those injuries away and we have got 26 professionals.
“Now that is a decent-sized squad and under normal circumstances. That’s not a problem with three or four injuries.
“Five or six is pushing it, but not as many as that.
“Long-term, that’s what has killed us, so even if we had brought in two or three players, we would have had to get rid of two or three players to keep the size of our squad together.”