Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes referee Mike Dean’s decision not to send off Chelsea defender David Luiz last weekend directly led to the injury problems that could leave him without a recognised centre-half at Norwich on Saturday.
Dean only showed Luiz a yellow card for a last-man challenge on Demba Ba less than four minutes into last Saturday’s Premier League clash in a game Chelsea went on to win 3-0.
The referee subsequently admitted to Pardew he had got the decision wrong, but that was scant consolation for the Newcastle boss on a costly afternoon.
Having lost Fabricio Coloccini to a thigh injury in the first half, the Argentinian’s fellow centre-back Steven Taylor then picked up an Achilles problem that required surgery and will rule him out for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, midfielder Danny Guthrie sustained a groin injury that could keep him sidelined for six weeks.
The Luiz incident came on the same day that referee Stuart Attwell showed a red card to Bolton defender Gary Cahill after deciding he had denied Tottenham a clear goalscoring opportunity for a tackle on Scott Parker almost on the halfway line.
That was overturned on appeal, but Pardew made little attempt to disguise his frustration that, unlike Taylor, Guthrie and probably Coloccini, both officials will be in action this weekend.
“We ended up with 10 men, with not a centre-half on the pitch,” he said. “I don’t ever remember being in that situation before. And to concede two late goals on the back of that made it even more galling.
“It just goes to show how important those decisions are. It’s interesting to see both the referee at our place, who admitted to the mistake, and the Bolton referee have got games this weekend.”
Pardew confirmed James Perch, who came on for Coloccini at the weekend, will definitely play, and there is a possibility the Argentinian could be fit.
With Mike Williamson still working his way back from a broken arm and an ankle problem, if Coloccini does not make it then Pardew will have to improvise.
Hungarian Tamas Kadar could make his first appearance of the season or the Toon boss may opt for either Davide Santon or Danny Simpson, both of whom normally play at full-back.
Pardew said of Coloccini: “I think there’s an outside chance he could play but we won’t play him and put him at risk. His injury looks a lot better than we thought so that is the positive news that we got coming out of the treatment room this week.
“Danny Guthrie could be a four-to-six-week job and there’s no Cheik (Tiote) this weekend so we really are up against it squad-wise and it’s important now that everybody plays their part.
“Tamas is an option. He’s played well in the reserve games we’ve had. He’s a player that hasn’t had many opportunities and he’s looking to kick-start his Newcastle career.
“We’ve had one or two come out of the woodwork here who weren’t meant to be in the frame, Ryan Taylor being the prime example. So there’s no reason Tamas can’t come into the side and do very well.
“Perch will definitely play. He’s been with all the sessions we’ve done defensively, he knows exactly how we defend and I don’t see a problem there.
“We think we’ll have one or two back for Swansea (on December 17), including Mike Williamson, who we’re accelerating, and I think that will boost everybody to see him back in and around it. So we’re not as bad as perhaps it’s being portrayed at the moment.”
Taylor’s injury is a particular blow given the form he had been displaying, but Pardew is optimistic about the long-term prognosis.
“The operation went very well,” he said. “It’s been repaired and we think he’ll make a full recovery. Usually with that type of injury your Achilles comes back stronger so I don’t envisage that problem coming back once he returns.”