Newcastle ‘standing by’ Bruce despite wretched form and player unrest

Newcastle United are set to resist any calls to sack manager Steve Bruce, despite their current wretched form and reported player unrest in the dressing room.

The Magpies’ have once again endured a frustrating campaign thus far, with the club currently 17th in the table and just three points ahead of Fulham and the relegation zone, albeit having played a game less than the sides below them.

With things not going well on the pitch, it’s no surprise to hear that it’s also not going swimmingly off it, amid rumours of a training ground bust-up between Bruce and former Bournemouth man Matt Ritchie on Tuesday.

The former Manchester United defender had criticised his player in his post-match interview at the weekend, blaming him for failing to pass on tactical information when he was brought on as a substitute against Wolves, the visitors scoring just minutes later amid the confusion.

That public dressing down by Bruce seemingly left the Scotland international raging, a fact that was made worse when the 60-year-old waited until the team returned to training on Tuesday to discuss the matter, the two men involved in a heated confrontation, where Ritchie reportedly labelled his manager a ‘coward’.

Such an incident, among other issues, has left many questioning Bruce’s future at the club, although according to the Times, the Newcastle board are set to stand by their manager.

Not only does he have a good relationship with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley, but Bruce would also cost more than £4m in compensation were he to be sacked, with the club willing to hold off for now.

That being said, there is seemingly an undercurrent of frustration in the Newcastle dressing room, with reports that there is a growing discontent among the players.

The previously ever-present Karl Darlow is said to be furious after being left out of the draw against Wolves, with Bruce failing to tell the player prior to the game that he was opting for Martin Dubravka instead.

The team will need to put their frustrations behind them at the weekend, however, as they face a crucial relegation battle against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

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