Newcastle are set to ramp up efforts to hire Rafa Benitez’s successor, as Toon chiefs are keen to install the next manager at St James’ Park before the first-team fly to China, according to Sky Sports.
The United first-team are due to fly out to the Far East for the Premier League Asia Trophy on Saturday, but Magpies executives are reluctant to caretaker boss Ben Dawson and stand-in assistant Neil Redfearn leading the charge against Wolverhampton Wanderers next Wednesday.
The Newcastle hierarchy are still yet to finalise their reduced shortlist, however, with a string of names still thought to be in contention to take up the hot seat left behind by Benitez after Mike Ashley allowed his contract to run out in June.
One name believed to be in the running is current Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce, who brushed off the speculation linking his name with a move to Tyneside last week.
“Maybe [my name is being mentioned] because I’m from Newcastle,” he told Radio Sheffield, via quotes by Sky Sports.
“But no, I’ve been on holiday. I never take any notice of all that sort of speculation or tittle-tattle, because the way the newspapers are today, no disrespect, I think there have been 150 managers associated with Newcastle. I would suppose I’m going to be one of them.”
Bruce has only been in his current role since January after replacing Jos Luhukay, although he did not take up his duties at Hillsborough until February 1.
In the months since, the 58-year-old oversaw 18 games, in which he won seven and drew eight, to record the fifth best points haul during that period from the 24 teams that made up the Championship in 2018/19 – more than Play-Off Finalists Derby County and Semi-Finalists Leeds United.
Bruce’s 29 points also meant he achieved a 1.61 points-per-game average, marginally eclipsing his career average 1.4 from stints with Aston Villa, Hull City, Sunderland, Wigan, Birmingham, Crystal Palace and Huddersfield, which rose to 1.42 by the close of the recent campaign.