With a squad so short on quality and numbers, the options in these remaining three matches are hardly encouraging in the fight against relegation.

Little wonder that Newcastle fans have hoped that some of the long-term injured would magically rise up from their sick beds and come to the rescue.

However, Siem de Jong has summed up how hard it is to return from long-term injury and get up to speed for the demands of the Premier League.

The player admitting himself that it will take time and apart from his well taken goal against Swansea, he has looked woefully off the pace in his appearances off the bench. This is despite a number of matches for the reserve team.

At Leicester the folly of taking big risks on players returning from injury was shown up by Paul Dummett, abck in the team despite no warm up matches for the reserves, the defender was atrocious against Leicester and then also picked up a hamstring injury which makes him doubtful for West Brom on Saturday.

However, Rolando Aarons has talked enthusiastically of getting thrown into the relegation fight:

“Even right now, I wouldn’t turn down the chance to play for the first team. Rusty or not, I’m always available and I’m ready to play.

“I’m raring to go and trying to build my match fitness up, so I’m ready to play for the first team when I need to. I’m not the gaffer, so it’s up to him to make that decision.”

Earlier this week Aarons managed 45 minutes for the reserves but looked nowhere near ready for being anywhere near the first team, ‘rusty’ would have been a generous description of his display against Blackburn’s second string.

Obviously you can’t blame players for playing to the gallery and telling fans what they want to hear, but with only 17 days until the end of the season, I think we all have to accept that there will be little help from our clutch of players who are only now returning from long lay-offs.

Hopefully John Carver and the rest of the club will accept that, rather than kidding themselves that anybody other than those who have disappointed in the last few months will be relied on to save the season.

If the plan is to throw a Rolando Aarons or Papiss Cisse on as a late sub and hope for the best, then we are really in trouble and quite literally clueless.

Siem  de Jong looked less than impressed when being thrown on at 3-0 down at Leicester and expected to do something to turn it around.

The plan has to be to get something out of these recent dismal performers, or else it really is just avoiding reality and hoping for the best.

I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but for example a fully fit Gabriel Obertan has to be the way to go rather than blind faith that a one legged Papiss Cisse or an unfit de Jong or Aarons are going to be the answer.

Travel Posters - Tyneside Prints