Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Pins Hopes on Carl

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Pins Hopes on Carl

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Robinson's fitness key after Carter's exit

Mick McCarthy is keeping his fingers crossed that Carl Robinson can steer clear of trouble on his return to full-contact training at the Academy of Light following the premature departure of Darren Carter.

The Sunderland boss had already admitted defeat in his bid to keep Carter on Wearside but, after Birmingham moved to recall the 20-year-old from his loan spell yesterday, McCarthy was last night forced into a complete rethink of his plans for this weekend's trip to Cardiff.

Carter, whose three-month spell in the North-East was set to end on December 15, had been expected to make his final appearance for the club at Ninian Park.

But following Steve Bruce's decision to end the agreement nine days ahead of schedule, McCarthy must now hope that Robinson comes through this week's training sessions unscathed.

The Welsh international has missed three matches having undergone an operation to repair his badly broken nose. And, although he returned to training last week, he was told not to head the ball and ordered to avoid any potential facial contact. Robinson has now resumed full-contact training and with Jeff Whitley still struggling to shake off a hamstring problem, the loss of the talented Carter means the 28-year-old could emerge a key figure as the Black Cats bid to bounce back from Saturday's home defeat against West Ham.

Having steered his side to within touching distance of the Coca-Cola Championship summit, McCarthy has been brought back down with a bump in recent days.

Although an appeal will be lodged against Steve Caldwell's disputed red card against West Ham the defender stands to sit out three games through suspension. The news of Carter's recall ( the defender will return to training with Birmingham this morning ( came as the Black Cats boss was still stewing on his side's first home defeat since April.

"Steve Bruce has been great to let us have Darren in the first place," said McCarthy, of a player who, during his eight first-team starts for Sunderland, established himself as a favourite of the Wearside supporters. …

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