The Magpies were the only club in the land to plant a for-sale sign on their front lawn at the start of the transfer window, and several stars have since been linked with moves away.
It has had an unsettling impact on Eddie Howe‘s dressing-room – the manager says the situation is ‘not ideal’ – and one or two are thought to be open to leaving, if a lucrative offer came along.
But the lure of a pot of a gold will be competing with silver after they made it to the last 16 of this competition for only the second time in 18 years. They did it without playing particularly well but, for Howe, the result was all that mattered.
He needed this to keep alive a season that has ran awfully cold this winter, and a cup run can serve as a painkiller to the ills of their Premier League form. Their only league victory since early December was against 10-man Fulham.
Dan Burn scored Newcastle’s second goal of their 2-0 win over Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday
Sean Longstaff gave his side the lead in controversial fashion after Bruno Guimaraes handled the ball in the build-up
The FA Cup represents a chance at silverware for a Newcastle side who have had a tough campaign so far
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Given seven changes to their starting XI, perhaps that was the plan all along.
Newcastle’s team, by contrast, spoke of Howe’s determination to progress, his strongest available. He admitted, however, that it was not their strongest performance.
‘It was a big result for us, because this is our last chance of silverware this season,’ he said. ‘There was an expectation internally to give everything to get through. We weren’t at our most fluent and I was frustrated in the first half. But we showed resilience and character and improved as the game went on.
‘But it doesn’t matter how you perform, you just need to be in the next round. I hope this gives our season more legs.’
Missing for Newcastle was Miguel Almiron, wanted by clubs in Saudi Arabia. He was suffering from illness, said Howe.
His absence has fuelled speculation among supporters, especially those hoping that one out equates to one in. So, could Almiron be sold?