Carver given a boost by Newcastle owner Ashley

FANS' PROTEST ... Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

FANS' PROTEST ... Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

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JOHN Carver has been given an extra lift ahead of tonight’s game against Manchester United – thanks to a “positive” meeting with Mike Ashley.

Ashley congratulated Carver in person after Newcastle United’s 1-0 home win over Aston Villa.

When it’s a nice conversation, it’s pleasurable

Miles Starforth

The club’s billionaire owner – and managing director Lee Charnley – spoke to Carver, who hopes to take the job on beyond the end of the season.

Carver feels he must guide the 11th-placed club to a top-10 finish to have a chance of becoming Alan Pardew’s permanent successor.

And a victory over Louis van Gaal’s side at St James’s Park would see Newcastle keep pace with the three teams ahead of them in the table – Stoke City, West Ham United and Swansea City.

Asked what he could do to enhance his job prospects, Carver said: “Without speaking to Lee or Mike about it, my target is to get in the top 10 – that’s how I see it.

“Their message to me is get on with the team and do as best you can.”

Carver speaks to Charnley, put in charge of finding a successor to Pardew after he left the club for Crystal Palace at the turn of the year, on a day-to-day basis.

But the 50-year-old rarely speaks to Ashley, who also owns a stake in troubled Scottish Championship club Rangers.

“He was pleased,” said Carver.”He came down with Lee. We had a discussion, which was good. He’s delighted with the way things are going.

“Without going into details – it was a private conversation – I did speak to him, and it was a nice conversation.

“He was pleased. He still feels like everybody else does – we needed to win that game. He understood what it meant. There was so much pressure – he felt the pressure himself.

“We all did. That’s the type of people we are. We’re winners – we want to win.

“To come down there and have a real nice positive conversation was great. I haven’t had many conversations with him, because he’s the owner and my job is the head coach.

“When you do have a conversation, and it’s a nice conversation, it’s pleasurable.”

“But I don’t need to speak to the owner, and he doesn’t need to speak to me. I have a line management through Lee Charnley, and we speak on a daily basis. That’s all I need.”

Newcastle are set to announce a sizeable profit for the last financial year, but Carver maintains that Ashley is as enthusiastic about the football as the balance sheet.

“Of course he is kicking every ball – you can see that,” said Carver.

“When he came to the football club, I saw that. When you get involved in football and you like football, you have this drive and enthusiasm, and he has still got all that.”