Ahead of the derby match, John Carver has given his ‘backing’ for Vurnon Anita, though you can hardly say that it will have filled the Dutch midfielder full of confidence.

Talking about Anita’s performance against Arsenal in the 2-1 defeat at St. James’ Park, the Newcastle Head Coach admitted it (Anita’s performance) wasn’t ‘great’ but at least he didn’t hide.

“I have said to Vurnon Anita that he didn’t have a great day but he never went missing.

“He didn’t go hiding, and that’s important for me.

Courage:

“It is easy when there are fifty two thousand people out there to go missing but he showed great courage to continue to try and get on the ball.

“What he did do defensively, he did some good jobs for us.”

With such limited options, John Carver was forced to recall Vurnon Anita against Arsenal after having ignored him since hauling the midfielder off at half-time against Manchester City a month earlier. The Dutchman responsible for giving the first goal away when conceding a penalty only seconds after the match started.

Anita lasted 72 minutes against Arsenal before being replaced by Jonas Gutierrez and with Mehdi Abeid back in training, most fans will be hoping the Algerian midfielder is restored instantly to the team.

After arriving from Ajax, the player has struggled to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League and the idea of him potentially going head to head/toe to toe with Lee Cattermole isn’t very enticing.

Personally, I think some of his best games for United have been when he has filled in at full-back which is where he played much of the time in Holland, I’d like to see him fill in there and restore Jack Colback to the midfield.

If fit I would like the look of Abeid going into the middle of the pitch with Colback and Sissoko, the midfield being invariably where derby matches are won and lost.