The Irish playmaker hurt his ankle and sustained ligament damage in September.

English striker Kaine Sheppard was also injured in pre-season and won’t be back until January, limiting Newcastle’s strikeforce.

McKinna confirmed the club is still hunting for the right signing to boost their firepower.

“We’re looking. Ernie was happy – he didn’t just want to dive in, because the starting XI we saw at the weekend was solid,” he said.

“If we get a few more injuries than we’re very very skinny. We were actually go with 20 players and three scholarships in our squad, so having the two injuries we’re basically 18 and two scholarships.

“So at the weekend, everyone has pulled up alright. Kaine is two to three months, Wes is a bit longer, so we are looking but we’re not diving in.

“We’re definitely looking to bring someone in, whether that’s in the short-term now or in the window in January. We’re definitely looking to fill one spot.”

McKinna admitted having Hoolahan out for so long is a huge blow.

“Losing him was big,” he said. “He was special, he was the one who was going to unlock the door.

"Hopefully, he’s going to be four or five months, so hopefully we’re in the hunt for the finals at that time when he makes his comeback.

“He’s not a big guy, he’s always looked after himself, so hopefully the wee man’s back bigger and better than ever because he’s came here for the right reason.

“He came here to bring his family, his two kids and wife, to bring them to have an experience living overseas for a year in a beautiful country and hopefully it works out well for him. “