Newcastle boss Steve McClaren backs under-fire keeper Karl Darlow
Steve McClaren will keep faith with under-fire keeper Karl Darlow if Rob Elliot does not recover from illness in time to line up against Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday.
Darlow made his league debut for the club at West Brom on Monday after Republic of Ireland international Elliot went down with a stomach bug, and he was at fault for the game's only goal as he allowed Darren Fletcher's effort to squirm from his grasp.
Elliot was sent home from the club's training ground once again on Wednesday and is a doubt for the trip to the Emirates Stadium, but head coach McClaren insists he would have no qualms about turning to his understudy once again.
The 54-year-old, who will be without midfielder Vurnon Anita and striker Papiss Cisse through injury, said: "We have just shown a review of the game and there were some defining moments in the game.
"In the first half, he made a terrific save from James Morrison low to his right which kept the score at 0-0. We had a thousand set-plays against us, he dealt with that very well and it's just one of those things that happen.
"Karl Darlow is a very good goalkeeper and I have every confidence in him."
If Newcastle have problems in their goalkeeping department, they were put into perspective on Tuesday when it emerged that former keeper Pavel Srnicek, who had been in an induced coma since suffering a cardiac arrest before Christmas, had died at the age of 47 after his life support machine was switched off.
McClaren said: "Always at this time of year, Christmas, New Year, you always reflect and look back and be grateful for what you have got, and when you see the sad news of Pav, you think how life can be just a second away from ending.
"It's really sad. It puts everything into perspective. Sport and football are terrific events, great theatre, there's great debating, it's great on a Saturday, but when things like that happen to Pav, it puts it really into perspective.
"We talked a lot about it last week when he was in a coma and unfortunately, he's not come through. It's absolutely devastating to lose anybody, but especially a character like Pav at that age is really, really sad.
"Our condolences go to his family and everybody who has been around him, friends. It's really a sad time at Newcastle at the end of this year."