9:20am Thursday 27th January 2011http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/football/newcastle/8816199.Carroll_facing_up_to_a_month_more_on_sidelines/
NEWCASTLE striker Andy Carroll is set to be sidelined for at least another month after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh injury.
Carroll will visit a tendon repair specialist in Sweden tomorrow after he was unable to take part in running sessions during this week's training camp in Portugal.
Magpies manager Alan Pardew has been hit with a double injury blow, as Dan Gosling is facing further knee surgery that will also rule him out of action for the next four weeks.
However, it is the setback to Carroll's recovery that is causing the greatest concern among Newcastle's medical staff, with the England international already having missed the club's last five matches.
Carroll injured his thigh in December's defeat at Tottenham, but it was originally hoped a period of rest and recuperation would solve the problem.
When that did not happen, the 22-year-old was instructed to travel to Portugal with the rest of the Magpies squad this week, in the hope that a spell of intensive treatment would hasten his recovery.
That has not happened either, and with Carroll still reporting considerable pain in his thigh, Pardew has decided seek the advice of one of the world's leading tendon specialists.
As a result, the striker will miss next week's games against Fulham and Arsenal, and is also unlikely to feature in the home game with Blackburn that precedes a two-week break without a fixture.
“We brought him out here (to Portugal) to start running, and the disappointing news is that he hasn't,” said Pardew.
“His injury is in the muscle, just above the tendon where it joins the knee, so it's not an area that gets great circulation and therefore it doesn't heal quickly.
“We have had a consultation this week about sending him to someone who is the world's best tendon repair expert – there are experts in different fields – and this guy is at the Arctic end of Sweden.
“He's flying out there on Friday and we're hoping that we can turn him around quickly. But now I have to say that Fulham is definitely out and possibly even Arsenal. We can't rush him back.”
Carroll's absence has reduced Newcastle's attacking options markedly, but even with his leading goalscorer set to spend another month on the sidelines, Pardew is reluctant to spend significant resources on signing another striker ahead of Monday's transfer deadline.
“We have to pay tribute to Shola (Ameobi), Leon (Best), Nile (Ranger) and Peter (Lovenkrands),” said Pardew.
“They've all played a part in great performances, if not always the results we've wanted. They've all pitched in and done a great job, so you have to say we haven't missed him as much as we all feared, including myself.”
To make matters worse, Gosling now faces another extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a partial recurrence of the knee injury that prevented him from featuring at all in the first half of the season.
The midfielder, who was a summer signing from Everton, arrived at St James' Park midway through his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
He made his Magpies debut as a second-half substitute in this month's 1-1 draw with Sunderland, but has been complaining of continued swelling in his knee.
That swelling suggests there could still be a cartilage issue that needs addressing, and Pardew is resigned to sanctioning another bout of surgery.
“It's such a shame because our medical team worked really hard with him,” he said, during an interview with BBC Radio Newcastle. “He had the operation at Everton, so they weren't party to what went on, and what they've inherited was what looked like a slight problem in that knee.
“Anyway, we've brought him back and in all this time there was a slight swelling that wouldn't go away. The surgeon suggested we carried on the treatment and now we think we need to perhaps have a look in this knee, that there might be something floating around, that there might be some cartilage that needs trimming.
“If you've got swelling, it's not right. Unfortunately for Dan, he's going to have to be patient, and we are too because we all got excited when we thought he was ready to come back. The case is that he's going to be missing for another three or four weeks.”
Pardew is due to return to England later today, and with no weekend game to work towards, the Magpies manager will devote the majority of his attention to the transfer market.
Stephen Ireland remains the club's leading target ahead of Monday night's deadline, but with Aston Villa still refusing to contribute to the midfielder's £72,000-a-week wages, Pardew expects negotiations to go to the wire.
“That seems to be the way things are this month,” he said. “All clubs are waiting to see what happens and I think you'll probably see a few things happening in the final day of the window.
“Everyone's trying to get the best deals they can. Things are changing all the time – only today I've had agents on to talk about players where other deals have fallen through – so I think you'll see activity right the way through to Monday's deadline.”