ANDY Carroll will jet out to Sweden tomorrow to visit a world-renowned specialist after suffering a setback in his bid to overcome a thigh muscle tear.
In a fresh injury blow for Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew, his top scorer has now been ruled out of the midweek trip to Fulham and is rated as highly doubtful to play any part when Arsenal visit St James’ Park on February 5. He has not been available since the December 28 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
With Dan Gosling possibly facing an exploratory operation on his injured knee, it is not the positive news that Pardew would have liked to relay from the club’s training camp in Portugal.
But United are playing it safe with Carroll, who has been unable to resume running despite an upbeat prognosis from St James’ Park earlier in the week.
The injury is proving particularly trouble-some because of the high risk of making it worse if he resumes playing too soon.
Pardew continues to tread a careful line on the transfer front too – although he revealed last night that he has been offered two players whose moves elsewhere have fallen through.
Whether one of those is a striker is unclear, although Carroll’s problem is going to take longer to recover from than was first anticipated.
“We brought him to Portugal to start running and the disappointing news is that he hasn’t,” Pardew said.
“His injury is in the muscle just above the thigh – an area that doesn’t get great circulation so doesn’t heal very quickly.
“(So) we’re going to send him to someone who’s the world’s best thigh repair expert. This guy is in the arctic end of Sweden and he’ll be flying out on Friday and we’re hoping he’ll be able to turn him around quickly.
“He’s definitely out of Fulham and probably Arsenal too. There has to be no doubt (when he returns).”
The same is true for Gosling, set to miss the next three to four weeks after facing swelling and discomfort in his knee.
The club suspect floating cartilage may be the reason and are pondering an exploratory operation which will see him ruled out until March. “It is such a shame – our medical team has worked hard with him,” Pardew said. “He has felt a bit of swelling that won’t go away and we think we may need to have a look at the knee.
“There may be a bit of cartilage in there so Dan is going to have to be patient and may be missing for three or four weeks.”
On the transfer front, Pardew is happy to bide his time. A United source told The Journal the club and Aston Villa remain “miles apart” on wages as they discuss a possible loan move for Stephen Ireland – but there is a belief a deal may be brokered nearer Monday’s 11pm transfer deadline.
“I wouldn’t say anything is imminent,” Pardew said. “All of the clubs are gearing up towards the last day (of the window). What happens is you want to get the best possible deal for you. I have had a couple of calls today about players who were going to other clubs but that has broken down, with us asked whether we’d be interested?”
Meanwhile, Pardew has revealed that the club will bring Hatem Ben Arfa back to the North East for the Arsenal game.
As revealed in The Journal yesterday, the France midfielder is making good progress following an intensive rehab programme in Clairefontaine – but Pardew wants to see first hand how he is.
“We’re hearing really good reports about him but our medical team need to be sure. We have to be careful that we protect the player,” Pardew said.