If you were worried about John Carver's tactics for the match this weekend against Arsenal, worry no more! In his Wednesday press conference, the Working Class head coach gave a glimpse of how he hopes to deal with Arsene Wenger's men. It's perhaps a familiar tactic but will not serve to distance himself any from his predecessor Alan Pardew.
JC: "We are a small group and it's a difficult time but the only way you get through it is by sticking together and smiling." #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 19, 2015
They'll get through it by sticking together. And smiling. Lest we forget:
The Alan Pardew version of the smile tactic did lead Newcastle to a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa, so if John Carver can employ it to the same end, it would have to be considered a net positive, right?
Carver did go the extra mile to confirm that he would prefer the cobbled-together backline that will feature Daryl Janmaat at CB and subsequently another player out of position at RB (probably Vurnon Anita).
JC: "Saturday is not the environment for young lads, especially against an in-form Arsenal side. It's not the right time for them." #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 19, 2015
This particular quote doesn't come as any kind of surprise as he has spent a good amount of time deflecting questions about Freddie Woodman (specifically) which have established that he will not be using any of the young players in the run-in of this particular Premier League Season.
If you are of the camp, however, that doesn't believe that John Carver should get the job long-term, this tweet that could have been easily lost as the club tweeted out the bulk of their Carver presser quotes may give you a sad. It doesn't make any kind of definitive statement about the future, but is certainly enough to plant the seeds of concern.
John Carver will meet with Lee Charnley and Graham Carr to talk about the future and summer 'investment' in the squad. #nufc— Miles Starforth (@milesstarforth) March 19, 2015
This doesn't expressly say that Carver will be given the job on a full-time basis, but it certainly implies that things are could be heading that direction. He could be advising in the function of assistant manager once again, but it seems unlikely that any of the candidates not named John Carver would be inclined to leave the back room staff in tact or keep it even in part (excepting the unlikely event that he has proven something to whomever a new head coach might end up being). It could very well be that John Carver is not in the discussion to carry on as head coach – which would be neither be surprising nor counter to the results gained on pitch – but if he truly is having discussions about the future shape of the squad, it could just as easily be that they have already made their decision to keep him on. He would be the cheapest option.
But first, Arsenal. Just remember: keep smiling!