Belfast Telegraph

Newcastle play waiting game as Bruce stays loyal to Hull City

Pulis takes on West Brom post but search goes on for Ashley while Pardew pitches up at Palace

By Sam Wallace

The managerial merry-go-round has continued at full speed but the Magpies are still waiting to swoop for the right man.

Tony Pulis had been in consideration for the vacant Newcastle manager's position, following Alan Pardew's departure for Crystal Palace - Pulis's former club - although sources at St James' Park insist he had not actually been offered the job.

Owner Mike Ashley will consider his options further, although he is on holiday in Barbados at the moment.

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Former Stoke boss Pulis is set to be confirmed as the new West Bromwich Albion head coach while Chris Hughton has been named as the new manager of Brighton & Hove Albion on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

One man going nowhere is Steve Bruce, the Hull manager, who had been tipped in some quarters as a candidate to replace Pardew.

The former Manchester United and England ace ruled himself out yesterday, saying that he is not looking to leave the relegation-threatened Tigers.

Bruce is a boyhood Newcastle fan and said he was "flattered" to be linked with the position but is committed to Hull.

"People know that I am from Newcastle," Bruce said.

"I was a Newcastle supporter as a boy and it has been regurgitated since I was a 22-year-old playing for Norwich and Gillingham. For that obvious reason, I am linked with them every time. It's very flattering as I'm a Geordie but that's it.

"I have a job to do here and it would be wrong for me to think of anything else other than get this club out of the position we are in and that's all I am focused on.

"It would be wrong for the speculation to keep carrying on, for the club, for the supporters, for the players. I am determined to see this through and make sure we stay in the Premier League and build on the good work we have done.

"I have had three offers in the two and a half years I have been here, and I have turned them all down, so I think the chairman knows the way I feel."

Ashley and his managing director Lee Charnley will draw up a shortlist of potential candidates in time.

However, whoever takes the role as head coach will have to work alongside Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr, with the latter overseeing the club's transfer activity within the confines of the club's established investment policy.

That model is one which they believe is suited to certain potential managers and not others.

Among the issues the new manager must grapple with is holding on to some of United's best performers including French midfielder Moussa Sissoko with reports emerging that Arsenal are set to launch a £9m bid.

The player's future has been in the spotlight since Pardew gave notice that he intended to quit as manager of the club on Sunday evening.

In the meantime, assistant manager John Carver and first-team coach Steve Stone will take charge of team affairs.

There has also been speculation that Carver could be appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season.

Carver has admitted he has ambitions to manage in his own right once again after being handed the Newcastle reins.

The 49-year-old insisted as he met the media yesterday that he had not thought any further ahead than the Premier League clash with Burnley today and Sunday's FA Cup third round trip to Leicester.

However, having cut his teeth as a manager in his own right with Toronto in the MLS either side of number two roles with Plymouth, Leeds, Sheffield United and the Magpies, he is keen to return to the front line.

Carver, who will be assisted by Stone and football development manager Peter Beardsley, said: "I think you always have those ambitions don't you? But you've got to wait for the right opportunity. Now the manager looks like going, what's my situation? Only time will tell.

"My head's going 100 miles an hour here, as you can imagine. I think that every coach who goes into football wants to be a manager, and there will be a day when I want to be a manager again."

Whatever challenges Carver and the players face off the pitch, it is what happens on it which will matter today, when he will have to do without in-from striker Papiss Cisse after he accepted an FA charge of violent conduct and the three-game ban it brings.

Cisse, who was due to meet up with the Senegal squad for the African Cup of Nations after the game anyway, issued an apology for his actions after television footage showed him elbowing Everton's Seamus Coleman.

He said: "I'm sorry for doing something like this. I'm not the sort of player who does something like this. It is not like me, I am not an aggressive player, but in football you cannot do something like this.

"I would like to play in the next games, but I did something that is not good and the FA were right to ban me. I am sure the other players will do well and win the games for us.

"We need points and need to win. I will not be on the pitch, but my head and my heart will be with the team for the game."

Belfast Telegraph


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