It seems like a perennial problem at Newcastle United – the injury problems we always seem to have at the club. Once again Sam is finding it difficult to pick a good defensive unit because of injuries.
Both Abdoulaye Faye and Stephen Carr were introduced again against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, but both of them came off with new injuries, although we donâ€™t think they are too serious in nature.
Stephen Carr – came on Saturday and looked good – but was injured again
Steven Taylor is still out until his specialist gives him the all clear to play again and Claudio CaÃ§apa, who must be keen to play again, if only to redeem himself after his terrible first 11 minutes against Portsmouth, is still not available.
Just exactly which players will be available for the important game against Arsenal on Wednesday evening, we don’t know right now. But a very good display is needed during that game, and Sam just cannot afford having his players not turn up for any game before the end of the year.
While we think his position is safe as manager, Sam just cannot let things get any worse and must be seen to be turning the fortunes of the club around. Newcastle have now lost 6 of their last 9 games but the Newcastle boss was last night in a positive mood as he began his plans for Wednesdayâ€™s match against the in-form Arsenal powerhouse.
Sam said today:
â€œI could do with having the players fit before I pit my wits against Arsene Wenger,â€ â€œOur problems lie with the injuries weâ€™ve got at the moment, the ones at the back in particular.â€
â€œIf Iâ€™d had Claudio fit and Steven Taylor, Faye and Carr fit, things might have been different (at Blackburn). But you canâ€™t have all those players missing from one area of the team.â€
â€œFaye had got himself fit but has injured his calf, Stephen Carr came on and looked good, but because he has been out for so long, he felt his hamstring.â€
â€œTheyâ€™ll both be doubtful for the game against Arsenal and all we can do is attempt to get them fit again as soon as we can.â€ â€œI hope Steven Taylor will be fit but that all depends on the specialist.â€
Steven Taylor traveled to Blackburn on Saturday but it turns out he has yet to receive the go ahead from his back specialist to return to the team, as Sam pointed out above. We had thought when he wasn’t even a substitute on Saturday he must have failed a fitness test, but that was not the case.
Defensive lapses again undermined Newcastleâ€™s valiant effort on Saturday to capture all 3 points at Ewood Park.
â€œOur defensive frailties are the biggest problem we have,â€ â€œIâ€™ve been working hard on that with the coaches all season but, given the disruption weâ€™ve had, we havenâ€™t been able to find the resilience to hang on to results and get points on the board.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll keep trying to improve in that area because, if we can, weâ€™ll do better in games. I think we can consider ourselves unfortunate. The goals we conceded (at Blackburn) were avoidable ones.â€
Sam’s right there, and Newcastle came close to getting a win on Saturday, but we didn’t and what goes into the books is a 3-1 defeat. However, there were definitely encouraging signs from the team on Saturday, but this just has to be maintained against Arsenal, who are now a formidable team once again. We can’t afford any more capitulations at home. We have to play all out on Wednesday night, and just hope we can get some kind of result at the end of the day. A win would be fantastic.