Newcastle United face an up-hill battle when they face in-form Arsenal at St James' Park on Saturday as manager John Carver has revealed that he has only thirteen senior players to choose from.
The club's squad has been badly hit with both injury woes and suspension with captain Fabricio Coloccini and striker Papiss Cisse set to miss out through suspension.
Injuries have also contributed to a heavily diminished Newcastle squad with the likes of Steven Taylor and Cheick Tiote also missing the vital clash against the Gunners.
Lack of investment
Caretaker manager Carver has also revealed that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley had "acknowledged" the weakness and that there will be investment alongside a clear-out in the summer.
It has therefore been conceded that a lack of significant squad strengthening in the January transfer window is to blame for Newcastle's current lack of available senior players, but Carver has refused to give up despite the injury and suspension woes.
He told The Mirror: “The squad needs to be stronger and Mike, Lee and the board have acknowledged that.
“That’s why I’m saying they’re going to invest, because they know they have to.
“Now whether it was me or Pards, if he was still here, that would be the same situation. What I won’t do is give up on it, I won’t think, ‘Well, I’ve got all those people out, that’s it, that’s me done, I’m not going to get this job’. I’m not going to think that way.”
The Toon Army will be looking to react to pundit Gary Neville's claim that their players were playing "like they had flip-flops on" in their 3-0 defeat at Everton, with a trip to relegation-battling Sunderland their next fixture.
However, with only one specialist central-defender available and the Gunner's attack looking in formidable form, it would appear that Newcastle will continue their poor run of form against the north London club.
With only thirteen senior players to rely on, it would seem that Newcastle are unlikely to emerge victorious from Saturday's clash, particularly considering Arsenal have won their last six games against Newcastle, scoring 18 goals and conceding just five.