ALAN Pardew is "worried" by Newcastle's recent poor form and their chances of a return to winning ways at Stoke on Wednesday.
The Magpies have struggled to cope with domestic and European exertions this season, which was epitomised by yesterday's 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
The result leaves them 14th in the table and just four points off the drop zone heading into this week's trip to the Britannia Stadium.
While manager Pardew can call upon captain Fabricio Coloccini after suspension, he will be without Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Shola Ameobi once again.
"We're worried, of course we're worried, because we are Newcastle United and we've really got that dressing room to take into Wednesday night," he said.
"It's not like we can add four or five players from the squad. That is our group and they have been beaten and are going to another tough place.
"We have three days to try and lift the team to try and get ready for another tough game."
It is a game Pardew hopes the Newcastle fans turn up in force for after more than 2,000 went to St Mary's.
"I am looking forward to the next game and hopefully performing better for our fans," Pardew said.
"They came a long, long way and they are the greatest set of fans in the country, in my opinion.
"Perhaps we need them more than we did last year because the team really needs a lift."
While Pardew is left scratching around for a victory, Southampton will be looking to make it three successive wins against Norwich on Wednesday. After a miserable start, promoted Saints are beginning to find their feet and secured their first clean sheet of the season yesterday.
"It was good for the team because they work so hard on the training ground," manager Nigel Adkins said of the shutout.
"I thought we played well for a large majority of the season but we have been punished in a big way defensively.
"The lads work hard and there is a growing resolve about the players, a real maturity. You could see that was a good defensive performance yet again."