JOHN Carver admits Newcastle United will be in “big trouble” if they lose any more defenders to injury.
Carver is down to his last FOUR fit senior specialist defenders for tomorrow’s game against Manchester City.
Paul Dummett has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks with the knee injury he suffered in last week’s game against Crystal Palace.
And the blow has compounded the earlier loss of Steven Taylor for the rest of the campaign – and the decision not to recruit a defender in last month’s transfer window.
United also loaned out Davide Santon and Remie Streete to Inter Milan and Rangers – and sold Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to AS Roma.
Midfielder Cheik Tiote and forward Siem de Jong are also battling to play again this season.
Asked about the club’s mounting injury problems, Carver said: “It’s always a concern when you lose player, especially of the quality we have lost.
“You can get away with losing one or two young lads.
“There’s nothing I can do about it. If you look at the injuries – Siem, Cheik, Dummett, Taylor. Four of our big players have serious injuries, not muscle strains.
“You’d normally get one or two of those in a season – we got three in a week. It’s a bit unfortunate. It’s no good sulking or making excuses – that’s life, and we have to deal with it.”
Asked about the decision not to sign a defender in the transfer window, Carver added: “Two weeks ago we were one player away from having a fully fit squad.
“I was so excited about that. Who is to say that’s not the end of it?”
Carver will switch Daryl Janmaat to central defence if anything happens to Fabricio Coloccini or Mike Williamson.
And fit-again utility player Ryan Taylor – who has missed two years of football after twice rupturing his cruciate ligament – offers Carver welcome options.
“He has got a huge part to play, as the whole squad has, but him in particular because of the fact that I can use him in a number of different positions,” said Carver. “That’s vital to us.
“We all know – it’s not a secret – that we are short of defenders now because of the injury situation.
“But I feel that we have enough in Ryan, and we can use Vurnon Anita on either side, and we can use Daryl Janmaat as a centre-back, so we have a few options.
“But if we start losing one or two or three more, then we are in big trouble.”
The Gazette yesterday revealed that Dummett – involved in a collision with Yannick Bolasie – was facing a long lay-off.
And Carver said: “The good news is he doesn’t have to have an operation, but he is out for between 10 and 12 weeks.
“It’s quite ironic because Yannick Bolasie, who I know really well, rang me and apologised. He said ‘it was an accident, John’, and I said, ‘I know it was. It wasn’t your fault’.
“He was concerned about it. It was just a clash of knees – a freak accident.
Meanwhile, United are still assessing the knee injury suffered by Cheik Tiote while on African Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast last month.
“We don’t how long he’s out for,” said Carver. “We’ll know within the next 48 hours what is going on with him.”
Asked if Tiote could have been looked after better by his country, he added: “I don’t want to go into that. He’s here, we have to deal with it.”