Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and his scouting team have started to identify potential targets for a summer recruitment drive.
Pardew is keen to be fully prepared for a crucial transfer window during which he hopes to be presented with the proceeds of Andy Carroll's #35million departure for Liverpool.
The manager's spending power will, of course, depend on his current crop of players finishing the job of securing the club's Barclays Premier League status during the remaining 10 games of the campaign.
Uncertainty remains over the futures of Jose Enrique and Joey Barton with talks over new contracts having been put on hold, but a list of prospective signings is being drawn up with the Magpies having already been linked with the likes of Cheick Tiote's Ivory Coast international team-mate Gervinho and PSV Eindhoven winger Jeremain Lens.
Pardew told Press Association Sport: "We have sat down and discussed briefly what the plans are, of course. It's very important to have a strategic plan of what you are doing.
"We don't want to be doing everything at the last minute - although like all transfer windows, you have to be patient because sometimes there are six or seven teams involved around one player who is available, and then they fall away.
"It might happen right at the last minute, but there has been three or four months' work gone into that particular player.
"We might not be signing players as soon as the window opens, but believe you me, we are very much on the case of players we feel might take us forward."
Barton and loan signing Stephen Ireland are doubts with thigh problems, but striker Shola Ameobi will return to the mix wearing a special mask to protect his fractured cheekbone.
The 29-year-old has been sidelined since suffering the injury at Fulham on February 2, and it is a measure of how well Leon Best, the man who partnered him that night, and Peter Lovenkrands have performed in his absence that he is by no means guaranteed an instant return to the team.
Meanwhile, Everton manager David Moyes has defended his decision to play Marouane Fellaini against Sunderland last week following criticism from the player's father.
Abdellatif Fellaini hit out at the Merseyside club after his son was ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury which requires surgery.
The 23-year-old Belgium international picked up the injury at Chelsea a fortnight ago and Fellaini senior believes he should have been rested for the visit of the Wearsiders last Saturday.
Fellaini aggravated the problem in a challenge with Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and was substituted after 42 minutes.
It is the second successive year Fellaini has had his season ended prematurely by a serious ankle injury.
"Marouane is really in a desperate state," Abdellatif Fellaini said in Gazet van Antwerpen.
"He should never have played that last game against Sunderland. He should never have been allowed to play because he was already injured."
Moyes has rejected any suggestion Everton would risk a player's wellbeing.
The Scot said: "That's completely wrong. We would never do that, it's a load of rubbish.
"We had to hold the boy back from training on the Tuesday and Thursday and he trained Friday.
"His dad's maybe upset because the boy is going to have another operation on Monday.
"Who would do that? We wouldn't - of course we wouldn't.
"We certainly wouldn't risk Marouane Fellaini, who has arguably been our best player this season."
It has been a difficult week for Moyes after his team were dumped out of the FA Cup at the fifth round stage by Championship side Reading on Tuesday.
Moyes had hoped his team's memorable win at Chelsea in a fourth-round replay would prove a turning point in an inconsistent campaign.
They followed it up by beating Sunderland 2-0 to move into mid-table in the Barclays Premier League but the Reading reverse has proved another major setback.
Everton will be without another influential midfielder at St James' Park with Tim Cahill ruled out for up to three weeks with a foot injury.
Yet Moyes still has much of the squad which lost just two of their final 24 games last season together, and believes they can fire again.
"There are a lot of good players in there and a lot of strong characters," he said. "I have got a lot of trust in them, I believe in them. They are good players and that hasn't changed."
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