Former Newcastle United striker Mick Quinn has blamed the club's poor dealings in the summer transfer window for their plight at the wrong of the Premier League table.
The Toon are six points above the drop zone with four games remaining and face Liverpool, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal in the closing weeks of the season.
Only Vurnon Anita and Gael Bigirimana were signed of note during the summer and while the club brought in the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Debuchy in January, the damage to Newcastle's season, which has been in stark contrast to the last campaign where they missed out on a Champions League place on the final day of the season, had already been done.
The Tyne-wear derby defeat to Sunderland has worked to emphasise the club's trials in recent months and Quinn believes Alan Pardew's directionless transfer window dealings are to blame.
"At the moment Sunderland are still revelling in their derby glory," Quinn said. "They have used it to carry them through the last few games of the season.
"Newcastle on the other hand are hobbling over the finish line - and whether they actually cross it remains to be seen.
"Relegation can't be ruled out. Last summer was a disappointment when it came to signings.
"Newcastle can ill afford a repeat process this time around."
Billy Jones' equaliser for West Browwich Albion on Saturday denied Newcastle a much-needed win at The Hawthorns on Saturday and means Pardew's side go into their final four games with their top flight status on the line.
Defender Steven Taylor said: "Everybody needs to perform like that again.
"I don't think we'll go too far wrong. We just need to keep that in the team. We must give the fans what they deserve, and that's 100% commitment.
"You look at any Newcastle fan and you can see their hurt [after the Sunderland game]. It hurt everybody. Now we hope that West Brom has lifted everybody and we can get back to winning ways against Liverpool.
"You don't get many chances when you come to West Brom. We caused them some problems, and they found it difficult to break through. Their fans were getting frustrated."