NEWCASTLE United suffered a demoralising defeat at Fulham last night, but the damage to their depleted striking resources could be greater still.
Little wonder, then, that manager Alan Pardew left Craven Cottage cursing his luck.
Days after losing their leading striker, Andy Carroll to Liverpool for £35m, Newcastle United face six weeks without the next man in line, Shola Ameobi.
The forward suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone when he was caught by the arm of Steve Sidwell in last night’s 1-0 defeat.
Former Magpies winger Damien Duff scored the only goal of the game after 67 minutes, but in truth it was a comfortable win for the Cottagers.
While the home side spurned some good chances, through Duff and Kakuta, there was little to trouble their former Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Pardew, though, saw it differently.
“It was a disappointing goal for us to concede because it wasn’t like us,” said the Newcastle manager.
“We restricted them and they restricted us.
“The first goal was always going to be crucial and unfortunately for us they got it.”
Ameobi’s injury will also deny the striker a possible international debut – he had been hoping to play for Nigeria against Guatemala in the United States later this month.
His absence leaves the Magpies with just three senior strikers in Leon Best, Nile Ranger and Peter Lovenkrands.
“It looks like a fractured cheekbone so that’s going to be a long lay-off and another blow,” Pardew commented .
“We’ve had a run of these sort of injuries and Cheik (Tiote) suspended. Carroll was injured but that’s irrelevant.
“Shola has done particularly well for us so that’s a blow. I gave Nile his head tonight and told him to set the game alight, but he couldn’t quite get into it.
“Besty (Leon Best) has done a lot better than that when he’s played for us.”
Despite the defeat, their first in the league in 2011, Newcastle remain in the top half of the table ahead of Saturday’s visit of Arsenal.