A report from the north east claims Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is not under any immediate threat of being dismissed and will be given time to turn things around this season.
Bruce is now in his third season as Magpies boss. The 60-year-old was not a popular choice to succeed Rafael Benitez. But he guided his charges to 13th in his first season at the helm before a 12th-place finish in 2020-2021.
The much-travelled tactical has implemented an attacking style of football at St James’ Park. It has paid off at times but things have not started well this term.
The Tynesiders are winless to date, with just two points from five games played to sit 18th in the standings. Once again the knives are out, with calls to jettison the former Manchester United defender.
But owner Mike Ashley seems reluctant to part company with the Corbridge-born manager. Finances are always tight on Tyneside and the retail magnate knows his coach would be due compensation if sacked.
There would then be the problem of finding a replacement – not an easy task given the working conditions involved.
The Chronicle suggest that Bruce and his backroom staff are not in any imminent danger of being shown the exit door. And they state that Ashley will only pull the trigger if the team is ‘cut adrift’ at the foot of the table heading into the winter period.
Late-season surge saves Bruce bacon
Newcastle were down in 17th spot on April 4 last season and looking at a relegation scrap. But they won five of their final eight matches to shoot up the table away from danger.
That run proved that things can change quickly in football and so it is not all doom and gloom quite yet. Uncertainty over the club’s future has certainly not helped matters.
Ashley has been trying to sell for years but successive bids have fallen short of his valuation. Keeping the club in England’s top division would be the limit of any Newcastle manager’s ambition at present.
And Bruce has managed to do that since he was handed the reins. The players heads south this weekend with a trip to Vicarage Road to take on Watford.
The Hornets sit 11th with six points to their name. They would be considered as a club in the same bracket as Newcastle.
While the result appears unlikely to determine Bruce’s future, the club’s hierarchy will certainly have a keen eye on the result.