With Steven Taylor ruled out for the season, it is a shortage of defenders which threatens to prevent Newcastle from fulfilling their ambitions this season of breaking into the top four in the Premier League standings.
Newcastle currently sit five points outside of the top four in sixth spot and hopes will be high that they can bridge this gap with Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse returning earlier than expected from the African Cup of Nations.
This duo will be important in firing the goals to keep Newcastle in contention for a Champions League spot, but equally as important could be shutting out the opposition at the other end.
Taylor and Fabricio Colocinni formed a formidable partnership earlier in the campaign as Newcastle started the season with a better defensive record than any other Premier League club.
However, they have begun to leak more goals of late, partly due to Taylor being absent with an Achilles injury and they will be in greater trouble if either Colocinni or Mike Williamson are also struck by injury.
Greater defensive cover is of major importance and Pardew has been heavily linked with both Blackburn’s Chris Samba and Championship star Adrian Mariappa from Watford.
Samba has interested a host of Premier League clubs since being asked to be put on the transfer list, but Blackburn’s £15m valuation is too much for all concerned.
This has also angered Samba, who believes a fee of around £7m is more realistic and is a sum that Newcastle would perhaps stretch to paying.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have had three bids turned down for Mariappa and are reportedly preparing one final swoop that will see them switch targets if unsuccessful.
Newcastle’s odds are currently 25/1 to finish in the top four and this is definitely unlikely if they fail to land at least one of their defensive targets.