NEWCASTLE United will be in safe hands at Stamford Bridge – where Tim Krul will make his comeback.
The goalkeeper came through a behind-closed-doors game against Celtic yesterday.
Krul – who has been out since late November with an ankle problem – will replace 21-year-old Jak Alnwick in goal against Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders.
Newcastle, also without second-choice goalkeeper Rob Elliot (thigh), have conceded 18 goals in their last seven league and cup games.
And caretaker manager John Carver feels Krul’s ability and experience will help settle his defence after an uneasy few weeks.
“It’ll be a tremendous boost for everyone,” said Carver.
“We’ve conceded a lot of goals recently, so to have Tim between the sticks would be massive.
“It’ll certainly give me a boost and the fans – everybody connected with the club – because of his experience.
“He’s a leader, and we need leaders at Chelsea.
Carver feels 26-year-old Krul is as good as Manchester United’s David de Gea and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois.
“He’s up there – he’s been outstanding for us,” added Carver, who expects those players who missed last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Leicester City to be available.
Experienced quartet Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko, Jack Colback and Daryl Janmaat missed the third-round tie through injury, while Ayoze Perez was rested.
“They are all fit providing they come through this latest session with no problems,” said Carver.
Meanwhile, Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has had successful surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The 28-year-old – who suffered the injury against Burnley at St James’s Park earlier this month – had an operation in London on Wednesday.
Taylor wrote on Sportlobster: “Had successful surgery on my Achilles in London.
“All done now and on the road to recovery!”
Taylor will be missing for the rest of the season.