BOBBY ROBSON has saluted the role of unsung hero John Carver in Newcastle United's Premiership resurgence.

First-team coach Carver has acted as Robson's right-hand man since Mick Wadsworth defected to Southampton last summer before moving on to take charge at Oldham.

Robson, 69 next month, has resisted the temptation to install big-name candidates to the post of head coach and instead relied on the popular Carver to shoulder the workload.

Former Middlesbrough reserve-team coach David Geddis, who played under Robson at Ipswich, has been recruited on a short-term basis with a view to taking up a permanent position on United's backroom staff.

Carver and Geddis joined Robson on a spying mission at Feethams on Tuesday night to run the rule over prospective FA Cup opponents Darlington and Peterborough.

Robson said: "I'm not going to appoint until I'm sure who I want. I didn't want to bring someone in who didn't appeal to me.

"We worked for a long time a man down and during that time John Carver impressed me very much. He has a good approach, a good attitude and works very hard. He did some good things in training and I liked what I saw, so I decided not to appoint above him.

"I had a lot of big names on my list who wanted the job and I've resisted that and given John his head and I'm delighted with him.

"I've brought in David Geddis under John. He's a young, hard-working coach who's a thinker and we'll see if he's the answer to what we need at the club.''

Meanwhile, Newcastle's £20m-plus-rated midfielder Kieron Dyer looks to have killed any hopes he may have had of joining Leeds - by rubbishing their title credentials.

Dyer, who Newcastle are hoping will agree a new five-year deal, scored his first goal for a year in last Saturday's 3-1 defeat of Leeds at St. James' Park.

And the England World Cup hopeful said: "Beating Leeds was important as it proved we have the armoury to take out the so-called big guns.

"We beat Manchester United, Arsenal and Leeds before Christmas. We then lost at home to Chelsea and away to Man. United, but what's pleasing from our point of view is that we've done the double over Leeds now in successive seasons.

"They must hate the sight of us. I knew we would beat them - I don't think they are the great side that some people have labelled them, especially now they have a few injuries.''

* Newcastle could be without Lomana LuaLua for six games after he jetted out for Africa Nations Cup duty. He has been called up by the Democratic Republic of Congo for the tournament in Mali.

The DCR launch their campaign on Sunday against Cameroon, and if they go all the way, LuaLua could be missing until after the February 10 final.

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