Belfast Telegraph

Carver: Top 10 target is doable

John Carver has admitted his reputation as the "miserable one" may soon be banished after he was handed the challenge of leading Newcastle to a top 10 finish in the Barclays Premier League.

The 50-year-old was appointed head coach on a permanent basis this week and will be keen to crack an even bigger smile by kicking off his reign with a win at Hull on Saturday.

Carver said: "They call me the miserable one, not the chosen one. You can see the smile on my face - I don't smile too often, trust me.

"I'm so proud and honoured to be the head coach of a club like this. I've got enough belief in my ability.

"I think Lee (Charnley, chief executive) has come out and said our goal is to finish in the top 10. If we get ninth, eighth, or seven at a push, why not?

"We've got 16 games left and I've seen enough in the last three or four games, taking the cup game out of it, for us to go on a run."

Carver is waiting to discover whether he will have top scorer Papiss Cisse back for the Tigers clash after Senegal's elimination from the African Nations Cup.

Gabriel Obertan could be in contention after recovering from a thigh injury and Mehdi Abeid is also in the frame following a broken toe.

But the game is likely to come too soon for Dutchman Siem De Jong, despite an encouraging 45 minutes in a training ground friendly against Carlisle this week.

Carver added: "Our squad is getting stronger. I'm really encouraged by that.

"Siem had 45 minutes against Carlisle and scored, then he trained again and looked every stronger.

"The weekend might just be too short a recovery time for him, but he has given the group a massive boost because of his presence."

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