Shola Ameobi has added to Newcastle's current woes with news that he will likely need an operation to clear up a long-standing hip injury.
The powerful front man has been struggling for weeks now but it was expected an operation could be delayed until the New Year.
Newcastle are desperately short of firepower as Michael Owen is likely to be out for the season and Obafemi Martins is yet to really find his feet in The Premiership.
Toon boss Glenn Roeder concedes, with the benefit of hindsight, that Ameobi should have gone under the surgeon's knife in the summer and he also accepts he may lose his striker earlier than he anticipated.
"Shola's carrying this hip injury and it's a condition which isn't going to go away," said Ameobi.
"He's waiting for surgery and whether we can get him through to January is debatable.
"Hindsight's a beautiful thing and we went into the season probably not realising how much it had deteriorated.
"At the moment, he's not asking for the operation but the hip's becoming very stiff and achey and, to be honest, in the last few days, it's started to show."
Meanwhile, defender Craig Moore admits he is considering the option of returning to his native Australia.
The 30-year-old has been in and out of Newcastle's first team over the past couple of weeks and it has now become apparent that Queensland Roar are interested in his services, when his contract expires at the end of the season.
"Going home is a possibility if the package is right," said Moore. "I need to plan my next move.
"If I don't hear anything by January I'll definitely be leaving."