Andy Carroll

By Anthony Marshall

Andy Carroll has been ruled out of Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby at Sunderland.

Newcastle's 11-goal top scorer has missed the last three games with a thigh injury, and has spent time abroad as part of his rehabilitation.

But, speaking to the press on Friday lunchtime ahead of their trip to the Stadium of Light, manager Alan Pardew revealed the forward could be sidelined for up to another fortnight.

"Andy won't play. He's not even close really," said Pardew.

"We just have to patch him up and repair him as best we can over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully he will be available then.

"His injury was a little bit worse than we originally thought. It's a thigh injury, a kicking muscle and you can't chance that being torn.

"He's got absolutely no chance for Sunday, and possibly an outside chance for Spurs."

In the absence of Gateshead-born Carroll, the likes of Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands, Nile Ranger and the fit-again Shola Ameobi will all be battling it out  for a starting spot.

And the front men have already impressed the boss over the last few weeks.

"This game means everything to him (Carroll), being local. It's a huge disappointment for the player," said Pardew.

"But in the last two Premier League games we have done really well without him and overcome that, so hopefully other players will respond in the same manner."

"We've got to be fair to the public of Newcastle and let them know that Andy won't be available, but that we are ready to go into battle with the team that we've got."