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."