Wednesday 17 January 2018

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

Newcastle head coach John Carver has ordered his players to improve their discipline after stand-in skipper Moussa Sissoko became the latest man to earn himself a needless ban.

The Frenchman will sit out the Magpies' next two games after being sent off for a second bookable offence on Monday night, an ugly tackle on Liverpool's Lucas Leiva which could easily have earned him a straight red card.

With captain Fabricio Coloccini just back from his own three-match ban and striker Papiss Cisse four games into a mammoth seven-match suspension, Carver could well have done without losing perhaps his key midfielder for the second time this season, and has said as much to the player.

The 50-year-old said: "He knows he was wrong. He was quite fortunate he didn't get a straight red card, which would have made it a three-match ban. He agreed with me and apologised afterwards to Lucas - and rightly so.

"We saw some light at the end of the tunnel, thinking we were getting Coloccini back, then we lost Moussa. You think a captain would lead by example.

"We have to improve our discipline, which hasn't been great. It's something we are looking at."

The rash of suspensions could hardly have come at a worse time for Newcastle, who have lost their last five Barclays Premier League games on the trot and are still not mathematically assured of a place in next season's top flight.

Injuries have taken their toll too with Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett, Massadio Haidara and Cheick Tiote all out for the remainder of the campaign.

However, there is still a chance that big-money summer signing Siem de Jong could return from a collapsed lung before the end of the season with the Holland international due to play for the club's Under-21s on Wednesday evening.

Carver said: "He's a top player, creative and goal-scoring - and we need one of those in the team. Fingers crossed, he might be coming back at the right time."

The head coach also confirmed that young winger Rolando Aarons is to consult yet another specialist over his persistent hamstring problems, but is keeping his fingers crossed that his campaign is not over.

Carver said: "He's seeing a specialist for a third opinion, and we will see what happens. He hasn't torn the hamstring again."


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