Newcastle boss Alan Pardew knows he is heading into one of the most crucial periods of his three years in charge of the Magpies after enduring more frustration in Saturday's goalless Barclays Premier League draw with West Ham.
Yohan Cabaye was once again left out of Pardew's matchday squad and his future on Tyneside looks increasingly bleak with Pardew indicating the club must step up their search for a replacement.
Pardew did not comment on reports Cabaye had refused to play since Arsenal lodged an initial £10million bid last Monday, with both the Gunners and Paris St Germain expected to table improved offers next week.
But he acknowledged that irrespective of Cabaye's situation it is essential for the club to bring in new faces to add to their solitary summer signing Loic Remy before the transfer window shuts early next month.
Pardew said: "We know we've got some business to do and the next nine days are very important to this football club. I'm still fighting and I'm determined to make a success of this season for our fans."
Pardew would not elaborate on Cabaye's absence but did hint at his imminent departure when he said: "We need to get ourselves in a situation where if he stays, great, and if he doesn't we need to get someone equally as good."
Pardew watched his side fail to muster a single shot on target on a dreary afternoon at St James' Park, but almost saw them snatch victory when substitute Sammy Ameobi hit a cross against the inside of the post in injury time.
With Hammers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen stranded, the ball bounced down to a surprised Yoan Gouffran who somehow conspired to scoop the rebound over the bar when it would have been easier to score.
Other than Ameobi's late effort Newcastle's best chances were a couple of off-target free-kicks by Hatem Ben Arfa, who has impressed Pardew in the way he has bounced back from last season's nagging injury issues.
"One thing Hatem showed today and against Manchester City is his hamstring is fine and he's still got that burst of pace," said Pardew.
"I was pleased with his commitment, and that bodes well for us."
Former Magpies boss Sam Allardyce stretched his record of never having lost at St James' Park since his sacking in 2008, but was equally frustrated by his own side's failure to take three points.
The lively Winston Reid twice came close in a dominant first period then Modibo Maiga narrowly failed to connect to a cross from Guy Demel in front of the Newcastle goal.
And there was an even better chance for the Hammers early in the second half when Stewart Downing, making his full debut for the Hammers, crossed to Kevin Nolan who fluffed a simple header.
Substitute Joe Cole also screwed a late effort just wide and Maiga briefly thought he had won it in the last minute of normal time only to find his effort ruled out for offside.
Downing told West Ham's official website: "We're a little disappointed we didn't get all three points but a point is still good, and if we can win at home next week then that point looks even better.
"It couldn't quite happen and it wouldn't drop for us in the first half. I think we did everything right until the final bit, but in the second half we had a few chances and we started to get the ball in the box.
"If anyone was going to win the game it would have been us. The positive thing is we got people in the box and if we keep putting balls in the box like that, we've got a chance of scoring goals."
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