Glenn Roeder's hopes of raiding Kevin Keegan's locker for another emergency loan or two appear to be diminishing as the hard-pressed Magpies chief draws his wagons tightly around him.
Canadian centre-half David Edgar and 6ft 3in striker Andy Carroll have both been mentioned in despatches as being on Norwich's wanted list.
And with Middlesborough's Matthew Bates having been returned to sender last week and Dion Dublin out suspended for this weekend's home clash with Barsnley, it isn't exactly hard to make a case for extra defensive cover and additional attacking height.
Even if that then entails an extra body being sat in the stands every game as Roeder juggles his clutch of loan signings to fit into those five available places.
But back on Tyneside and Keegan knows that he can ill afford to leave himself short of cover as Newcastle's season lurches from one crisis to the next. Back-to-back home games against Manchester United and Blackburn followed by an away trip to Liverpool suggest that Keegan's quest for his first win since his return to St James' isn't about to get any easier.
Edgar was the latest name to find himself linked to a switch south – albeit by his agent in the Newcastle Journal this weekend.
“Ipswich, Norwich and Plymouth have all enquired about him, but Newcastle have not been willing to let him go in January because of the fact there were players away at the African Cup of Nations,” his agent, Barry McLean, told the Journal after watching his client make just one senior appearance this season – and that a three-minute run-out against Barnsley in the Coca-Cola Cup last August.
Given the fact that it was Roeder who gave the Ontario-born defender his debut for Newcastle and one of his biggest pals in football is Canary midfielder Matty Pattison, it is not hard to fathom why both paper and agent are more than happy to throw Norwich's name in the pot.
“David has been stuck between a rock and a hard place this season. I don't know whether that has changed, but those three clubs would love to have him,” added McLean.
However, it was one-time Canary coaching target Adam Sadler who started to throw cold water on that prospect after stepping into Lee Clark's old role at St James' amd watching Edgar walk off with the man of the match honours in last week's Reserve team draw with Manchester City.
Edgar was at the heart of the Magpies' defence in their 0-0 draw with Liverpool Reserves at St James' last night – their fourth game unbeaten. With Keegan in the stands and in desperate need of a defensive pick-me-up following the 4-1 humbling by Aston Villa, Edgar appears to be going nowhere.
“David was magnificent and continues to show the potential he's got,” said Sadler, after the shut-out against Manchester City.
“Who knows where David will end up in football?” added Roeder's former goalkeeping coach. “Hopefully, it will be in Newcastle United's first team, and with performances like the one he gave against Man City he will certainly have caught the manager's eye.”
Keegan himself confirmed that given the slender resources at his disposal – and the form that is fast deserting his established first team stars – he would not be looking to let anyone come out to play. Not yet; not until he had had a chance to regroup and rebuild in the summer.
“There will be loads of times in the future when we get a bigger, stronger squad, and when everybody's fit, that we can let players go out if we think it's beneficial,” Keegan told the Newcastle Chronicle this week.
On this occasion, it was 18-year-old Carroll who was in his thoughts following the youngster's return from a loan spell at Preston North End. Once again the Norwich connections were obvious – a chance to be reunited with his former reserve team boss Clark being just one.
The fact that Roeder may yet contemplate asking Gary Doherty to fill Dublin's boots on a one-game basis and play up front against the Tykes being an equally good guide to Norwich's need for an alternative target man following the exits of first Chris Brown to Deepdale and then David Strihavka home to the Czech Republic last month.
“At the moment Andy's got to stay here and play, if asked, in the first team, and make the training competitive,” said Keegan.
Edgar may yet prove to be one for the summer if Keegan's rebuilding plans include a new centre-half or two.
Again, Newcastle's high-profile move for Jonathan Woodgate in January suggested that is exactly what the Toon chief has in mind – even if Woodgate promptly preferred a move to Spurs ahead of staying in his native North-East.
With England Under-21 defender Steven Taylor likely to be a permanent fixture in that Magpies defence come what may, Edgar's impatience may yet find him a place into the City manager's little black book as he plots his own, mammoth rebuilding project this summer.
“David's heart is with Newcastle United but he is frustrated by a lack of first-team football, and that is a problem,” McLean told The Journal.
“He would be better off playing regularly in the first team on loan somewhere, but he also knows numbers are low at Newcastle and that he could get a chance there soon. But there is only so much you can learn playing in the reserves week after week.
“I think we need to sit down with Kevin Keegan and discuss the matter. He is not agitating for a move, he just wants to know where he stands. If he's not going to play this season, he'd like to prove himself while on loan at another club.”
With Keegan now seemingly intent on blocking any loan approach and, indeed, pondering handing the 20-year-old a start, such discussions are likely to be put on hold until the summer at which point Roeder, Clark and Co will prove to be very interested observers.