Local hero Andy Carroll kept the crisis talk at bay with a 78th-minute equaliser for Newcastle, but assistant boss Chris Hughton admitted any big-name departures would have a major bearing on his side's fight for survival.
Carroll jumped highest to head home a deep Damien Duff cross from the right and net his first goal for his home-town club just as the gloom was beginning to gather around St James' Park, but Hughton knows the Magpies are anything but in the clear with speculation continuing to rage about the future of some of his top names like keeper Shay Given and Charles N'Zogbia.
Hughton said: "We want to keep what we've got and we are not really in the position where we can afford to lose our best players. We are hopeful of keeping our best players, most definitely."
Joe Kinnear's absence from post-match press duties came as little surprise, but he will no doubt have breathed a sigh of relief after Carroll rescued a point that had seemed to be slipping away.
Michael Owen's early opener was quickly cancelled out by the returning Craig Bellamy, and Carlton Cole's second half strike had West Ham seemingly heading towards three points.
But Hughton was keen to pay tribute to the spirit shown by his players in a difficult period for the club, insisting: "We have an honest group of lads who perform to the best of their abilities.
"Of course the things that are going on and have been going on for some time can be off-putting but they are things we have to cope with and we wouldn't be the only team in this position."
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