Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits another turbulent transfer window and a tough start to the season have taken their toll on him.
The 52-year-old has had to contend with the controversial appointment of director of football Joe Kinnear, continued speculation over the future of French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, a frustrating lack of signings to date and a distinctly ordinary opening to the new campaign on the pitch.
That combination of factors would have been difficult enough to deal with had Pardew not ended last season fighting for his job with both owner Mike Ashley and the club's fans less than impressed with a 16th-placed Barclays Premier League finish.
While he insists the events of the last few weeks have not really come as a surprise to him, he is hoping his fortunes will take a significant turn for the better as he prepares for Fulham's visit to St James' Park on Saturday and Monday's transfer deadline.
Pardew said: "If I had been asked during the summer what would pre-season be like, I would have suggested not too dissimilar to how it's been.
"We had a tough start in terms of Manchester City away with a new manager, and also you could almost sense that one or two of our players would be involved in this window, so I kind of sensed it was coming.
"But that doesn't mean to say it hasn't been difficult, because it has.
"It has been a very difficult period and if we can get a win on Saturday and get through to Monday with one or two additions, I will be very, very pleased."
Pardew hopes to be able to unleash his one summer acquisition to date, Loic Remy, at some point on Saturday with the Frenchman having now trained with his new team-mates after shaking off the calf injury he was suffering with when he arrived from QPR on a season-long loan deal.
Fulham were the last side to lose at St James' Park in April with Papiss Cisse's last-gasp winner, which prompted Pardew to leap into the embraces of delighted fans in the stands, proving crucial in their ultimately successful fight for survival.
Maarten Stekelenburg is likely to be missing again for Fulham.
The Dutch goalkeeper, signed from Roma in June, suffered a shoulder injury on the opening day and had a setback following a fall in training.
Fellow summer signing Fernando Amorebieta's debut remains on hold, while Kieran Richardson is out for three more weeks with a hamstring complaint.
Aaron Hughes knows Fulham will need a repeat of their opening day defensive display if they are to leave Newcastle with another away win.
The Cottagers have endured a topsy-turvy start to the season, with last weekend's heavy home defeat to Arsenal followed by a stern Capital One Cup test against fourth tier Burton.
Before that, though, Martin Jol's side kicked off the campaign with a hard-fought and somewhat surprising 1-0 win at Sunderland.
It was a victory borne out of resilient defending and former Newcastle defender Hughes believes that will be key again at St James' Park.
"We went up there a couple of weeks ago to play Sunderland and got a good result," the defender told the club's official website, www.fulhamfc.com.
"This weekend will be very much similar to that game as they'll have a big crowd behind them, the team will be looking to get off to a good start and we're going to have to do something similar to what we did at Sunderland.
"We'll have to be as strong in defence as we were at Sunderland, but maybe try and use the ball a little bit better.
"We all know Sunderland wasn't our best performance football-wise, but in terms of being solid and defensively strong and everyone working really, really hard it was as good as we've had in a long time, so we need another performance like that.
"With their crowd, if they get off to a good start then they'll get right behind them and it could make for a very difficult game.
"But if we can get off to a good start ourselves and try and quieten them a little bit, then it will maybe make the day a little bit easier.
"If we could snatch an early goal then it would give us something to hold on to.
"It means then that they have to come out looking for a goal and push forward a little bit, certainly as the game goes on, and they'd maybe leave a few spaces that we could exploit."