Eddie Howe admits he and his staff have identified players they want in January but has not spoken to anyone about leaving the club next month.
The Magpies have been tipped to recruit in the winter window as Howe plots a route away from the bottom three. The north-east outfit sit 19th heading into the festive period, with just 10 points from 18 games played. They are three points from safety and have played more games than most of the clubs around them in the table.
It looks bleak for the Tynesiders who face the prospect of relegation despite the Saudi-backed takeover. January looks set to make or break the season.
Many players have been linked with St James’ Park while a number are expected to leave. The former Bournemouth chief confessed that it is not something he has spoken to his squad about.
And Howe made it clear that he expects his men to do their job while they are still on the books.
“I’ve had none of those conversations with my players and I wouldn’t encourage them, either,” he told reporters, per The Chronicle. “We need everyone that’s here focused on the fight to stay in the league. Simple as that. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to look anywhere else.
“We have a small squad. We have a few injuries within the squad as well so everyone should be focused on getting in the team.”
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The initial euphoria of seeing the back of Mike Ashley has now been replaced by the reality of the situation. Despite picking up a first league win of the season against Burnley, Howe’s charges have lost their last three games.
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They have gone down to Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester City by a combined score of 11-1. And next up is the visit of Manchester United on December 27.
It remains to be seen if the cavalry do arrive in the new year. The Magpies are thought to be targeting high-class loan stars to try and turn things around.
And Howe has confessed that there is a collective effort to make sure they bring in the correct personnel.
“We obviously have players that we are looking at and we’ve identified,” he added. “Between myself, the coaching team and the recruitment team, we have a big body of people working on behalf of the football club to try and find a way to strengthen the squad.”