John Carver: No update on Newcastle role, Magpies handed injury boost

Newcastle caretaker manager John Carver insists it is business as usual on Tyneside as he continues at the helm with the search for a new head coach ongoing.

Carver, who celebrates his 50th birthday on Friday, has asked to be considered as the permanent replacement for Alan Pardew, but like all the other candidates, is waiting for news as managing director Lee Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr assess the field.

In the meantime, he will finalise preparations for Saturday's Premier League clash with Southampton still looking for a first win after three games in temporary charge.

Carver said: "I haven't spoken to [owner] Mike [Ashley], but I had a good conversation with Lee. It hasn't changed.

"The club has a process and you can appreciate this is a massive football club, so they have to do their due diligence on everybody.

"There's a process and I am involved in that. When the time is right, they will announce the new head coach."

That quest has been ongoing now for almost two weeks since Pardew's departure for Crystal Palace, and it appears no appointment is imminent with talks ongoing with a series of contenders.

Former Lyon boss Remi Garde is one of those to have held discussions with the St James' Park hierarchy, but he is not alone and while the likes of Frank de Boer, Christophe Galtier, Paul Clement and Steve McClaren have distanced themselves from the vacancy, the Magpies are determined to get the right man no matter how long it takes.

In the circumstances, Carver will simply concentrate on the football and let everything else take care of itself.

Asked if the situation is unsettling, he said: "You can't think that way. I am such a positive guy, inside my head, I'm thinking it's going to go on forever.

"I will plan for the game against a strong Southampton team, get my head together after that and see where we go from there."

Carver has received a series of boosts on the injury front with midfielders Mehdi Abeid and Siem de Jong having returned to training on Thursday, although De Jong in particular is some way from a senior appearance having sat out since September with a torn thigh muscle.

Sammy Ameobi is fit after a knee problem and winger Gabriel Obertan is around two weeks away from rejoining the group. The latter could soon be joined by Jonas Gutierrez following his successful battle against testicular cancer.

Carver said: "He [Gutierrez] has played three reserve games and scored the other night. He's getting fitter and stronger and it's part of his process.

"I am liaising with him all the time. Players know better than I do in terms of fitness. He is about two or three weeks away from pushing for a first-team place."