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Paucity of available options gets caretaker Carver Newcastle gig

John Carver’s appointment as Newcastle United head coach for the foreseeable future leaves a veil of intrigue hanging over Tyneside about who the Magpies board are waiting for.

With the Toon not rated in relegation danger at 33/1 with Coral, they are one of a small bunch of sides like Stoke City that are in mid-table limbo. Fear of the drop is far away, but sizing Europe seems equally unlikely (it’s 20/1 they crash the top six).

Caretaker Carver has failed to win any of his four matches in charge across all competitions so far, and this promotion from within suggests no candidates from the 80 Magpies managing director Lee Charnley claimed had applied were deemed suitable.

One way or another, with the likes of Derby County’s Steve McClaren and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe ruling themselves out of the running, there was actually a paucity of options facing Newcastle this winter in their search to secure a successor to Alan Pardew.

Rumours persist that Ajax manager Frank de Boer is interested in the role, but looks likely to only move this summer. The French connection, meanwhile, which includes St-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier and ex-Arsenal player Remi Garde, are now outsiders to take over.

In a rare glimpse of some PR nous from St James’ Park hierarchy, giving the role to Geordie boy Carver for the rest of the season takes away one criticism a fickle Toon fanbase levelled at Pardew. As a Newcastle native, Carver is not regarded as an outsider or part of controversial owner Mike Ashley’s ‘Cockney Mafia’.

Whether Carver has the requisite standing in the game to make an impact on Tyneside, and his record so far suggests not, does not seem to matter overmuch to the board or support. Perhaps a dose of reality has hit everyone about Newcastle’s prospects, with a top half 10 finish an 11/8 chance.