Newcastle United are facing a shortage of defenders ahead of the game against Manchester City.
The Chronicle has reported that Newcastle United are down to just four fit defenders ahead of their game against Manchester City this weekend.
The four players the paper suggests are fit are Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat and Massadio Haidara, with Paul Dummett expected to be out of action for the next two weeks.
That leaves John Carver with a challenge over the next 14 days as he prepares his team for matches against City and Aston Villa before the end of the month.
The first choice he could take is to stick with the four players he already has available.
However, the main risk with that approach is fatigue. The same players playing in high pressure and intense situations will get tired and when players are fatigued, they’re more likely to make mistakes.
The second approach he could take is playing players out of position and asking them to fill in until more defenders return to fitness.
The danger with that is that any player being used out of position is more likely to make a mistake because they are not used to that position.
His third choice could be to dip into the youth team ranks, which is difficult with a player like Remie Streete currently away on loan with Scottish Championship side Rangers.
Younger players will inject pace and energy into the team but similarly to players being used out of position, there is the problem of inexperience.
They can also become targets in Newcastle’s defence for the opposition to get stuck into and bully.
It’s arguably Carver’s biggest challenge at Newcastle so far and it will be interesting to see how he sets the side up against City this weekend and then Aston Villa as February rolls to a close.