Newcastle manager Steve Bruce must avoid being dragged into the Premier League relegation battle if he is to ensure he stays in the job in the long term, according to reports.
Bruce is said to be safe in the short term despite Newcastle supporters growing fed up with performances and results of late.
The Magpies have not won any of their last eight matches across all competitions and lurched to a new low by losing to Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
The Blades had not kept a single clean sheet all season and had amassed just two points this term, having not won any of their previous 20 top-flight matches.
But Newcastle rarely looked like troubling Chris Wilder’s men at Bramall Lane and deservedly fell to defeat, though they had to play half the match with 10 men after Ryan Fraser’s red card shortly before half time.
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The performances of Bruce’s side have been well below par and fans are calling for the manager to be sacked given the summer signings of Callum Wilson and Fraser were expected to improve the attack.
Wilson has been one of Newcastle’s best players this season but as a unit the north east outfit have disappointed in the final third.
Yet Bruce will not be axed by owner Mike Ashley any time soon say the Independent and will only lose his job if Newcastle find themselves embroiled in the relegation skirmish.
Ashley does not want to get rid of his manager and get caught up with the problem of sourcing a replacement given he is busy trying to sell the club.
Sky Sports meanwhile say the owner and the boss retain a healthy working relationship and that Ashley believes Bruce is the man to turn things around and prevent any potential return to the Championship.
Newcastle are currently seven points ahead of Fulham in 18th but have played one game more and Scott Parker’s men picked up a valuable point at Tottenham on Wednesday night.
The Toon also have some tricky matches coming up, travelling to Arsenal on Monday before hosting a Leeds United team that scored five against them last month.
A trip to Goodison Park to face Everton follows while high-flying Southampton and title hopefuls Chelsea and Manchester United are among the opponents in February.
And Newcastle must improve their results if 60-year-old Englishman Bruce is to avoid an increase in pressure, but the boss is determined to tackle the task head on at St James’ Park.
“I’ll never ever walk away from a challenge,” he told Sky Sports after the loss to Sheffield United.
“I’ve been in it long enough to have that respect, but I understand – especially watching the first half – we weren’t good enough and I take the responsibility for that, because I picked the team.
“We’ve been trying something different because over the last few weeks we’ve struggled going forward, so my thoughts were to get Ryan, someone fresh, and Sean higher up the pitch where he could be a goal threat. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
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“I think we’ve had, apart from the last month which we knew would be difficult with the run of fixtures we’ve had, we’ve given ourselves a decent start to the season.”
Should Newcastle become involved in a relegation dogfight then things could change but for now Bruce is under no major risk in the hotseat despite the team’s dire recent run.
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