Belfast Telegraph

Carver: Selection due to injuries

Newcastle caretaker boss John Carver has repeated his insistence that he named his strongest possible team for last week's FA Cup third-round defeat at Leicester.

Carver came in for criticism from Newcastle fans after making seven changes from his side's previous game against Burnley, with the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Daryl Janmaat, Fabricio Coloccini and Jack Colback all absent.

All those players are set to return for Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at Chelsea and, with rumours continuing over his selection, Carver felt the need to put the record straight.

Carver said: "There were a lot of rumours going round about me putting out a weakened side, but I made quite a bit of noise about the fact I wanted to put out a strong side and win the FA Cup.

"Before the game the doctor told me we had four or five players unavailable and we had played four games in eight days and I had to listen to him.

"This was nothing to do with (owner) Mike (Ashley) or (chief executive) Lee Charnley. I couldn't even have thought about playing them. They had genuine injuries and genuine issues. I put the strongest team possible on the pitch."

Meanwhile, Carver has received a welcome boost with the news Tim Krul could be in contention for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Krul has been out with ligament damage since November but was due to take part in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Celtic at the club's training ground on Thursday.

Carver added: "We're going to give him 45 minutes and if he comes through the game then hopefully he'll be available for the weekend.

"Tim has been fantastic for this football club. His return will give everyone a boost. He is a leader and we are going to need leaders at Chelsea."

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