Newcastle United's injury crisis has deepened after Craig Moore suffered a set-back in his rehabilitation.
Manager Glenn Roeder will again be forced to field a make-shift back-four with an average age of just 20 for today's Premiership trip to Everton, after admitting he cannot put a date on the Australian international's return.
Moore, 31, has been sidelined since mid-November with a torn hamstring, and Roeder said: "Moore has broken down and this is probably due to all the previous hamstring injuries he's had in his career."
With Nolberto Solano (groin) rated only 50-50, Celestine Babayaro out for three weeks with hamstring trouble, Stephen Carr still struggling with a bruised foot and Titus Bramble only back in light training after a calf injury, academy quartet of Steven Taylor, Peter Ramage, Paul Huntington and David Edgar are likely to man Newcastle's defensive line.
The good news for Roeder as he aims to secure a first Newcastle victory at Goodison Park in five years is that goalkeeper Shay Given is confident of overcoming a groin injury to make his 400th appearance for the club.
Damien Duff's knee problem means the Republic of Ireland midfielder is ruled out but Kieron Dyer is fit after being substituted as a precaution following his goal in the 2-1 defeat at Bolton.
Everton have been warned their season rests on a knife-edge.
The Merseyside club stand eighth, six points behind near neighbors Liverpool in sixth.
Defender Phil Neville insists that back-to-back victories over Newcastle and away to Manchester City on New Year's Day will enable Everton to continue their push for a UEFA Cup spot.
But, in a congested mid-table, two defeats could leave them looking anxiously over their shoulder in a fight for Premiership survival.
Former Manchester United defender Neville, who returns from suspension this weekend, said: "We know it could go either way at the minute and we're aiming to go forwards. Maximum points in the next couple of games will put us right back in the hunt for Europe. We need to go on a run now because we've settled into the pack."