KEVIN Nolan believes signing new players should be an even higher priority than appointing a permanent manager at Newcastle United.
And the 27-year-old has reassured the Magpies they will have no difficulty attracting them.
The club’s self-imposed transfer embargo was lifted by Obafemi Martins’ move to Wolfsburg on Friday but with no permanent manager, all the talk has been of outgoings rather than arrivals.
Sebastien Bassong, Habib Beye, Fabricio Coloccini and Geremi are all expected to follow Martins out of the club in the not-too distant future.
And with the likes of Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Cláudio Caçapa, David Edgar and Peter Lovenkrands having been released at the end of their contracts, Nolan believes new signings will be needed.
“You can never ever take away what Chris (Hughton, the caretaker manager) and Colin (Calderwood, his assistant) have done,” said Nolan. “The lads are more than happy to take this (the management status quo).
“But one thing we may have to do if things stay the way it is, is bring a couple of new faces in to freshen things up and strengthen in places where we need strengthening.
“It’s major, big decision time for people upstairs and that’s up to them. We’re just getting on with things on the pitch and they’re doing their thing.
“We’re not here to ask for anything, just produce on the pitch.”
The uncertainty surrounding a
club which has been on the market since shortly after relegation from the Premier League was confirmed in late May has prevented the appointment of a manager and could make it hard to attract players.
Nolan, though, does not expect it to be a problem.
“No one will find it difficult to come to this club because of the fans and its great history,” he argued. “You saw how many fans we had in Dundee (in Sunday’s final pre-season friendly) and it’s like that every week.
“I don’t think if Newcastle United come calling for anyone – albeit that we’re in the Championship now – I don’t think many people will put the phone down.”
Nolan was keen to stress the unity of the squad now Martins has departed, but admitted more could still leave.
“All the lads who are here at the moment have said that they want to stick with us and give 110percent for Newcastle but if a club comes in and offers a ridiculous price for someone that could all change, we don’t know. But that happens at any club.
“We’re all 110 percent behind Colin, Chris and their support staff and I think they’re 110 percent behind us. We’ve just got to stick together and hopefully try and get through to September without losing any players and hopefully bringing a couple in.” Having for so long been spoilt for choice there, centre-forward is one of the positions where United currently look lightest.
It is why Nolan has spent the whole pre-season as a centre-forward, although the former Bolton Wanderers player points out his role is more complicated than that, switching between midfield and attack according to tactics.
“I think if we still had Mo (Owen), Dooks (Viduka), Oba, I wouldn’t still be finding myself in the central role,” he argued.
“It’s not really straight up front, it’s something we’re probably trying out to look after things next season because we know it’s going to be tough.
“It seems a bit strange and it takes a bit of getting used to but it’s something I’ll hopefully be able to get better at.
“But I think the main thing is that as a team we’re all gelling together, sticking together and working together. If we can do that we’ll be successful this season.”