After a week that has seen a defeat to Manchester United, a victory over Everton and one lost manager, Newcastle United begin 2015 with a home game against relegation battlers, Burnley.

John Carver will take charge of the Magpies on a caretaker basis for the foreseeable future, until owner Mike Ashley makes a decision on who is the man to succeed Alan Pardew, who will be unveiled as Crystal Palace manager later today.

It may well turn out that Ashley hands the reigns to Carver on a full-time basis until at least the end of the season, when some bigger name managers become available. Steve Bruce and St. Etienne boss Christopher Galtier may be names for the summer but until then, Carver will be in the dugout, assisted by Steve Stone.

For his first game in charge of the first-team since stepping in for Pardew when he was banned for headbutting Hull’s David Meyler, Carver will be without top scorer Papiss Cisse. The striker has been retrospectively banned after an altercation with Everton’s Seamus Coleman, minutes before netting Newcastle’s equaliser in the 3-2 win on Sunday.

With the transfer window opening at midnight tonight, there is a small possibility that Newcastle could sign a new goalkeeper on a temporary basis. However, with all the managerial confusion, a new keeper may have been put on the back burner and Jak Alnwick should continue with both Tim Krul and Rob Elliot at least a fortnight away from returning.

Gabriel Obertan, Siem de Jong, Rolando Aarons and Mehdi Abeid are all definitely out, while Jonas Gutierrez continued his comeback from illness in another under 21 game earlier this week and is closer to making the squad.
Also playing in that game was Davide Santon. The Italian lasted an hour before being substituted with an ankle problem that has delayed his comeback until later in January.

Sammy Ameobi has a knee injury and won’t make the squad, meaning Yoan Gouffran is likely to continue in the side. The Frenchman hasn’t scored for Newcastle since last Boxing Day and has looked far from top form in recent months. Whether Carver will see this or not is another question.

As for Burnley, manager Sean Dyche has hardly changed his starting XI all season and has began seeing the rewards. The Clarets came from 2-0 down at the Etihad in their last game to hold champions Man City to a 2-2 draw.

Sam Vokes, Michael Duff, Stephen Ward and former Newcastle transfer target Matt Taylor are all injured but star striker Danny Ings is available. Ings tormented Mike Williamson earlier in the season when the teams met at Turf Moor and will be hoping to replicate that performance tomorrow.

A win for Newcastle will keep them in the top half of the table and could move ahead of Liverpool and Swansea, while an away win could see Burnley move clear of the relegation zone.