Despite only just escaping relegation last season and being linked with a number of players during the summer, the Magpies have only brought in Loic Remy on a season-long loan from QPR and 16-year-old Olivier Kemen.
And Howey, who made 191 league appearances for Newcastle between 1989 and 2000, fears Alan Pardew’s men are going to struggle in the top flight again this season with their current squad.
“Last season they struggled because the squad wasn’t strong enough and because of the lack of signings during the summer I think they are going to struggle again this season,” Howey told talkSPORT.
“They have got some very good players there but I think they are going to struggle.”
Howey added: “He [Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear] has been brought in to do a job and, at this particular moment, he hasn’t done it. That is why I, and a lot of fans, feel sorry for the manager. His hands are tied.
“He [Pardew] can only work with what he has got. They are good players but he would say it would be nice to have that strength in depth and they haven’t got that.”