Newcastle United’s abysmal run of form continued on Saturday night with a 2-0 defeat away at Aston Villa.
The Magpies have now lost their last five fixtures in all competitions. They find themselves on a 10-match winless run, with their last victory coming against West Brom on December 12.
Steve Bruce is now the bookmakers’ favourite to become the next Premier League manager to lose his job. And it seems very few of the club’s fans would be sad to see him leave.
Bruce further angered Newcastle’s already deeply frustrated fan-base with his comments after losing to Aston Villa.
The 60-year-old said he was “encouraged” by what he saw from his team at Villa Park, much to the bemusement of supporters.
"I have seen enough to be encouraged,” Bruce said, per The Chronicle. "Yes we have to accept defeat but there was enough there to work on.
"That is always the difficult part of the Premier League and we understand that, we have found it difficult to score a goal but I was encouraged, especially when those two [Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser] got on the pitch.”
While Bruce may have been encouraged by what he saw, neither the fans nor the club’s board share his optimism.
According to The Sun, Newcastle have decided which manager they want to appoint if - or perhaps that should now be when - they sack Bruce.
Former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, once linked with the Arsenal and Everton jobs, is the man at the top of Newcastle’s shortlist.
The 43-year-old, who left Bournemouth by mutual consent in August following the club’s relegation from the Premier League, could soon be working at St James’ Park if the Magpies get their way.
However, the report adds that Celtic are also eyeing Howe if they part company with the under-fire Neil Lennon.
The Mirror, however, are reporting that Celtic will instead appoint Rafa Benitez as their new manager.
The Spaniard quit Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro this weekend and won’t be out of work for long.
But Guillem Balague has dismissed these reports, saying Benitez will take a short rest before deciding his next move.