John Carver's hopes of securing a permanent deal to manage his beloved Newcastle United hang heavily in the balance depending on the severity of Papiss Cisse's impending ban.
Looking set to miss the next seven Premier League games, Newcastle have struggled to score without the Senegalese centre-forward this season.
Since Carver was handed the role of interim manager back in January, he was essentially provided with a 16 game stint to audition for the job on a permanent basis.
Working in an industry that is judged purely on results, Carver now faces the daunting prospect of having to try and secure wins against the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham without his leading scorer, if he is to remain in the job next season.
Cisse's 11 goals in nine starts make him not only Newcastle's highest scorer this term, but prior to the mid-week match against Manchester United, he was also the league's most lethal scorer, averaging a goal every 84 minutes.
But he will now be out for the games against Everton (away), Arsenal (home), Sunderland (away), Liverpool (away), Tottenham (home), Swansea (home) and Leicester (away). With such a difficult run of fixtures to contest, you wonder where the goals will come from in a team that would be ahead of only Aston Villa in the scoring charts, were it not for the goals of Cisse.
Lack of options
The young Spaniard, Ayoze Perez, sits next highest in the Newcastle scoring tally with five goals to his name. His promising performances so far this campaign have been an unexpected asset to Newcastle, however at 21-years-old he still remains relatively inexperienced for Carver to pin all his hopes upon.
The only other recognised senior striker at Carver's disposal is that of Emmanuel Riviere, a £6 million summer signing from Monaco. Still to score in the Premier League this season, he looks someway short of doing so in the near future if his past performances are anything to go by.
Most recently against Manchester United he missed numerous chances, most notably one from just four yards out which he poked straight into the arms of goalkeeper David de Gea. Clearly lacking in confidence, his presence will now be heavily relied upon by the manager.
With the rest of the squad heavily depleted by injury, Carver now faces an even tougher test to galvanize his team into producing winning performances. Carver has just 10 remaining games of his managerial audition, how Newcastle fare without Cisse for the majority of these will now decide his future.
Can Newcastle cope without Papiss Cisse?