Alan Pardew says Newcastle are looking at a variety of ways to adapt their game in the absence of some key performers.
Although captain Fabricio Coloccini is in line to return from suspension for the Premier League fixture with Stoke, midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa remain unavailable through injury.
Newcastle's alarming run of one win in their last eight games has seen them slump to 14th in the league table, and the need to address this loss of form was central to Pardew's thoughts as he planned for the trip to the Britannia Stadium.
"We have had to change a few things," the Newcastle boss said. We have looked at things we have done well in the past but we have got a different team now.
"We have a lot of creative flair unavailable, Cabaye and Hatem especially, so we have to find a route to winning games that is a bit different. We have changed a few things and talked about it.
"The big fact is that the spirit remains here. We have changed set-plays this week but every week we analyse what we know, that the first contact at corners has been a problem.
"The most important thing is that we put in a performance where there is a bit more energy and a bit more determination in everything that we do.
"Some of our top players need a performance too. We can't use our younger players and expect them to do it every time. We need our big players to come forward. Their ego has been bashed a bit in the press and in the media. The best players respond to it.
"I think our risk taking needs to improve. When people talk about confidence, I think you are talking about risk-taking.When you are confident you take risks. You make that forward run or that forward pass or that shot at goal.
"You trust somebody to pass it into midfield. We are lacking taking risks. On Sunday we lacked it. Forward running, people taking care of the ball or people bringing others into play and trusting them – it was all lacking.
Following the news that central defender Steven Taylor will join Cabaye on the treatment table until February, Pardew confirmed that he is already in discussions over the possibility of recruiting in the January transfer window.
"I think it is unfair to talk about transfers," he said. "I have an injury room with 10 great players in there that has not gone unnoticed.
"Are we talking about it as a staff, directors and chairman? Of course we are but I don't want to publicly say who our targets are or where we are looking.
"We have lost Cabaye and that has given us a problem. We have to get past December before we can really start focusing on what we do in January."