As the fall-out from a summer transfer window during which the Magpies failed to make a single permanent senior signing continued on Tyneside, Howey predicted that the decision to bring in only loan signing Loic Remy could backfire.
He told talkSPORT: "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.
"They have got some very good players there, but I think they are going to struggle."
Much of the ire which greeted the closure of the window has been directed as director of football Joe Kinnear, the man drafted in by owner Mike Ashley ostensibly to oversee recruitment.
Manager Alan Pardew moved yesterday in an attempt to restore a measure of calm with a conciliatory statement in which he insisted there was cause for optimism.
However, that has done little to appease the club's critics, and Howey admits he can understand their frustration.
He said: "The fans and the stadium are unbelievable. Who wouldn't want to play for them?
"But I think players are looking at it from the outside and can see the kind of chaos behind the scenes and thinking, 'Do I really want to go there and be part of it?'
"He [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."