Newcastle United have been dealt a blow with the news that midfielder Yohan Cabaye could be out of action until January with a groin problem.
Cabaye, 26, joined Newcastle in 2011 from Lille and has become an integral part in Alan Pardew's side.
The injury to the French international comes at a bad time for Pardew, with Cheick Tiote set to leave for the African Cup of Nations in January.
"It could be we run all the way to the end of January before I have my first team to pick from," Pardew said.
"When Cabaye comes back, Cheick will be gone. It is tough for us at the minute."
Pardew also confirmed that Cabaye may be set for surgery on an injured groin that saw him miss France's international with Italy last week and the 2-1 home defeat to Swansea on Saturday.
"Cabaye might possibly have to have a little surgery on that groin. You have seasons when you lose players and you have to be able to cope with it," Pardew said.
"If I had everybody available then losing Cabaye would not be such a blow. At the minute we cannot afford to lose anybody."
With Jonas Gutierrez also missing the game against the Swans through injury, Pardew feels his side have been bereft of good fortune with injuries this campaign, citing only one game this season when he has been able to pick from a full squad of players.
"We have been unlucky this year," Pardew said. "We have lost Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic for more or less the season. One is bad and to lose two is tough to take and we have had suspensions.
"I can only think of one occasion when I have had everyone to pick and that was at Sunderland when I had all my senior players. I know that is what we need to do. We need our best players back.
"We are stretched this week and we have two big games and really that squad is only going to be added to by Jonas Gutierrez."