Carver pleads caution over De Jong
Caretaker Newcastle boss John Carver will not rush Siem de Jong as he attempts to revive the club's season.
The Magpies have had to do without the 25-year-old Holland international's invention for the last four and a half months after he tore a thigh muscle just three games into his career on Tyneside following a £6million summer move from Ajax.
However, while he could desperately do with the services of a man who former boss Alan Pardew believed would link midfield with attack this season, Carver will resist the temptation to throw him straight back into the mix.
He said: "Having him, Mehdi Abeid and Sammy Ameobi fit again just adds to the group.
"He seems a huge character, he's a good talker who pops in every morning for a chat. He's one of the big characters in the dressing room.
"But we need him fully fit. I think he's got to have two, maybe three Under-21 games and then maybe 45 minutes, 70 and then a full game. He's still a little bit off at the moment."
De Jong was fit enough to join the rest of his team-mates on this week's warm weather training camp in Dubai, where he will be able to go through his paces away from the wind, rain and show which has hit Tyneside in recent days.
The party jetted out on Sunday, a day after a 2-1 home defeat by Southampton, their seventh in nine games in all competitions, saw them slip out of the top half of the Barclays Premier League table.
Newcastle have won none of the four games they have played since Pardew's departure for Crystal Palace and have collected just one of the league nine points they have contested during that period.
However, 25-year-old Holland full-back Daryl Janmaat is refusing to write off the season.
Janmaat is confident the impending return from injury of the likes of compatriot De Jong, Rolando Aarons and Gabriel Obertan can help to rekindle the campaign.
He said: "We have to try to reach as high as possible. For certain, we are looking to finish in the top half of the table. That's our main aim now.
"We have Siem to come back and other good players. It's nice to know. They can make us stronger."
De Jong could prove a key figure as Newcastle attempt to increase their goal-threat with youngster Ayoze Perez currently carrying a heavy burden as a lone striker with Papiss Cisse away with Senegal and Emmanuel Riviere yet to open his league account.
Newcastle do not play again until January 31, when they visit struggling Hull, and Carver for one is hoping the ongoing search for a head coach will have yielded positives results by then having thrown his own hat into the ring.
But just as he is remaining patient with De Jong, so too is managing director Lee Charnley as he attempts to get the right man for the job.