Fabricio Coloccini has been added to the list of absentees for Saturday's clash at St James' Park after he was sent off during Newcastle's 3-0 defeat to Everton last weekend.
Added to the suspension being served by Papiss Cisse and a number of injuries, Carver admits responding to that defeat at Goodison Park will be tough against a side competing for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
"I've had big challenges in the past and this is one of the biggest," said the Newcastle boss. "It's my job to prepare the team to bounce back from Everton.
"[But] I only have 13 fit senior players, plus two goalkeepers, for the game
"We are a small group and it's a difficult time but the only way you get through it is by sticking together and smiling."
Newcastle sit 11th in the top flight after winning only one of their last six matches.
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