JOHN Carver is facing up to a defensive crisis in his first few days in charge at Newcastle United – after losing Steven Taylor for the rest of the season.
The club could now be forced to make a move in this month’s transfer window, with caretaker manager Carver short of options at the back.
Taylor ruptured his Achilles tendon in his left foot in yesterday’s 3-3 draw against Burnley.
And the luckless defender – who scored Newcastle’s opening goal at St James’s Park – will miss the rest of the season.
Carver has just two specialist senior centre-halves available – Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson – though versatile Paul Dummett can also play in central defence.
And Carver – who has taken temporary charge after Alan Pardew’s departure to Crystal Palace – knows the club can ill-afford to lose another defender to injury.
The club, which takes on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in a third-round FA Cup tie tomorrow, will almost certainly look to see if a defender can be brought in in this month’s transfer window, either on loan or a permanent deal.
Carver said: “It looks like Steven has ruptured his Achilles tendon.
“It’s not the one he did previously, so I think that’s probably him until the end of the season.
“I’ve known Steven since he was in the Centre of Excellence, and he’s a great lad.
“It was great for him to get the goal at a set-play – it was set up for him – but when he landed, you could tell from the way he fell it wasn’t good.
“Unfortunately, it’s not looking good at all.”
Pardew – who watched Palace’s goalless draw at Aston Villa yesterday – had wanted to sign another centre-half last summer.
Taylor – who has been beset by injuries in recent years – ruptured the Achilles in his right foot in 2012, and spent seven months on the sidelines.
The 28-year-old left St James’s Park wearing a protective boot and will be assessed by the medical staff next week.
Carver has fit-again Curtis Good, 21, available after the defender returned from nine-month absence this week, while 19-year-old Lubomir Satka is also highly rated at the club.
However, Satka – who has not yet had a spell on loan – lacks experience.
Defender Remie Streete, 20, is sidelined with a minor injury, but could return next week.