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What Steve Bruce said when asked if he will be Newcastle United boss next season

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Steve Bruce 'sincerely hopes' he will still be in charge of Newcastle United next season and is planning ahead despite the uncertainty surrounding the club's prospective takeover.

Following Rafa Benitez's departure last summer, the 59-year-old was parachuted into the hot seat just three-and-a-half weeks before the season started.

With seven league games to go, Newcastle currently lie in 14th place in the Premier League, four points off the top half, and the Magpies contested their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2006 at the weekend.

Although the would-be owners - Amanda Staveley, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the Reuben Brothers - are not thought to have a shortlist of managers and players to immediately target if they finally pass the Premier League's owners' and directors' test, that has not stopped Mauricio Pochettino and Rafa Benitez being linked with Bruce's job.

Bruce previously admitted that he found such talk to be 'disrespectful' and the Newcastle head coach intends to carry on planning for the future.

"Thankfully, I've been in it a long, long time and I've had takeovers at two or three other clubs as well," he told reporters on a Zoom call.

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"As I've repeatedly said, whatever's best for Newcastle, I'm OK with it. If that's the best thing for Newcastle to move forward then that's OK with me.

"Will I be Newcastle manager next year? I sincerely hope so. I really have enjoyed the challenge of this great club of ours so I can only plan ahead and presume and make sure that we still do the work we were going to do: how we're going to come back, when we're going to come back and all of those things.

"Of course, when the transfer window opens, what can we do to improve the squad going forward? I'll just carry on and soldier on and get on with it."

Newcastle had plans in place for the summer and this was going to be an important window for Bruce as he looked to put his stamp on the team in the transfer market.

Goalkeeper Mark Gillespie has rejoined his boyhood club on a free transfer but, before you even address the club's prospective takeover, it is not yet clear just how coronavirus has affected the Magpies' original plans.

"Well, over the last few weeks, we've managed to keep the loan players on. We've got two of the players signed for next season and a little bit more in Manquillo's case," Bruce added. "We're anxiously hoping that we can get young Matty done so in that respect, it's been business as usual.

Andy Carroll and Javier Manquillo have signed extensions but Matty Longstaff is still considering his options

"Teams like Liverpool and Man United, the big teams, have been affected by what's happened in the last three or four months.

"Of course, we're going to have to take stock, see what we've got and see what we can do. At all clubs, especially in management, it's about forward planning and that's why I said a week ago we need now for the decision to be made because we need the club to move forward.

"As I've said many times, whatever's the best for the club is fine by me so let's hope there's a decision for everyone - for you guys as much as us guys - and it's vitally important that we don't make it an excuse.

"We can't affect it, we can't influence anything. Our Premier League form over the last five or six games has been decent so let's hope we can continue that on and not use the takeover as an excuse."




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