By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Shola Ameobi has seen many players come and go in the 12 years since be broke into Newcastle United's first-team, and he believes the addition of some fresh faces in the coming weeks will boost the Club for the second half of the season.
At least one player looks set to sign for the Magpies during the January transfer window - France international Mathieu Debuchy was in the crowd in Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat to Everton - while the likes of Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and Hatem Ben Arfa are set to return to action sooner rather than later.
Such key absences would hinder any team and the average age of the outfield players on Alan Pardew's bench against the Toffees was just 20 years old. So it's little wonder that Ameobi thinks a couple of new players and the return of some existing stars will lift the side.
"It has to do, because we've got a small squad and we're at our bare bones at the moment," the 31-year-old told nufc.co.uk. "That's not an excuse for anything that's gone on before because we've got players to play every game but over this period we've really been stretched.
"The players have been really tired and we haven't really had anyone to come in and give them a rest and that's the problem we've got. They made a few changes today, Everton, from the team the other day and we can't do that unfortunately.
"So hopefully the new signings will come in to give us that bit of urgency and everything that we've got to do and hopefully that can give us a lift. We've got a few injuries coming back as well - we've got big, big players out so hopefully they could be coming back in the next few weeks and really help us kick on."
United could certainly do with a shot in the arm after suffering their ninth defeat in 11 Barclays Premier League outings despite taking a second minute lead against their visitors from Merseyside.
Papiss Cisse headed Newcastle in front but Leighton Baines netted a stunning free-kick before Victor Anichebe scored on the hour mark to give David Moyes' boys the points.
And Ameobi said: "We're really disappointed after that. We thought we played well enough to get something out of the game but again it wasn't to be. It seems like this season has been one of those where we do well and don't seem to get the breaks that maybe we did last season.
"He (Baines) has scored a rocket of a free-kick there which you don't expect it to go in; things like that, just before half-time, really hurt us but we came out second half and we showed the determination and the willpower to try and get the winner.
"But for a couple of good saves from their keeper, I hit one just wide of the post, Papiss had a couple of efforts... it just doesn't seem to be going for us at the right moments. Then they go down and score with, from my memory, the first time they had an attack on our goal and it's gone in. It seems like that's the way it's happening for us at the moment.
"But we're working hard and really giving everything we've got to try and change our fortunes and if we keep on doing that it has to change eventually."
Ameobi, who caused problems for Everton all evening and was unfortunate not to win a penalty after going down under Phil Neville's challenge, had poked a shot inches wide just before Anichebe struck at the other end and he frowned: "That seems - certainly in the last two or three games - to be what's happened to us.
"We look like we're in the ascendancy and we get the killer punch and that really hurts any team when you're going for a goal and you concede at the other end like that. We've came away disappointed once again but it's not for the want of trying and it's not going to stop us from keeping on fighting.
"I don't think you could fault any of our players for that. We know that (Everton) are a diligent team, they play the same style of football and they work hard and I think we certainly matched them with that today.
"They've got good players and they're doing well in the league but we made them earn that today and we're just disappointed that we couldn't finish it off."
It was only a third league start of the campaign for Ameobi but he linked up well with Cisse and Gabriel Obertan and, with Demba Ba expected to join Chelsea this week, hopes that he can continue to lead the line.
"It's something that I've done few and far between this season, unfortunately," he said.
"It was my first game in the Premier League for a while and I love it. It's something that I want to do every week and unfortunately I haven't had a chance to do that but if I can get a run of games going I know my game and I know I can bring it to the party. Hopefully I can get that now."
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