Do Newcastle have the depth to cope with his absence?

Newcastle winger, Wayne Routledge, has insisted that Newcastle are not a one man team after Alan Pardew revealed that Newcastle could be without Andy Carroll for up to four weeks. Following the performance against Wigan on Sunday, Newcastle clearly missed their talisman, but the team pulled together and managed to get the win. Clearly the squad is united but against better sides the feeling is Newcastle will struggle without Carroll.

To be fair to Wayne Routledge, his comments came before the win against Wigan. It wasn’t a reaction to the win but quite a considered point he was making. It is clear that the whole Newcastle team will have to bring goals to the side whilst Carroll is injured, something that Routledge recognises.

Routledge admitted: “Andy will be a big loss. He’s the focal point of our attack, but we’ve got to get on with it. We’re not a one man team and we’ve got to step up to the mark.”

Against a Wigan side who clearly were shattered from their midweek game against Arsenal, Newcastle were able to come away with the victory. However, in the Tyne-Wear derby on January 16, Newcastle will struggle without Carroll. Against a top quality team, Shola Ameobi does not have the presence to scare defenders. Most Premier League defenders know what Ameobi is about. He will not intimidate defenders into making mistakes like Caroll has, nor has he proven he can share the goalscoring burden. Without the goals from Carroll over the next four weeks, many pundits believe Newcastle could find themselves in a relegation battle come the start of February.

It would be unfair to label Newcastle a one man team, but one thing is clear. Andy Carroll is their best player by a country mile. If you take 11 goals out of any newly promoted side, they are going to struggle – that is obvious. Against Wigan, Newcastle showed phenomenal team spirit and played for each other. That is what Alan Pardew will bring to the club. Newcastle have warriors in their line up. Jonas Gutierrez, Cheik Tiote, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan will give everything for the cause, without having the sufficient quality to keep Newcastle in the Premier League. Andy Carroll is the man that will score the goals that keep Newcastle up. I am not sure that makes them a one man team, just Carroll is clearly a class above.

Alan Pardew may now be tempted to go into the transfer market and look for a short term solution to the Carroll problem. Players like Robbie Keane and Michael Owen have been touted as possibilities, with the Irishman looking the most likely. It would be sensible for Pardew to look around and try and find somebody to ease the problem. Going forward, Newcastle will struggle without Carroll, but with Steve Harper returning – Newcastle look in good shape across the rest of the pitch. Newcastle proved on Sunday they are not a one man team. They will miss Carroll, no doubt, but such is the spirit of the squad, they may surprise a few people.

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