Graeme Jones set to manage next three Newcastle games with new owners uncertain on next manager

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Graeme Jones takes Newcastle training - GETTY IMAGES
Graeme Jones takes Newcastle training - GETTY IMAGES

Graeme Jones is likely to remain interim manager of Newcastle United until the next international break as the various members of the consortium continue to discuss who should replace Steve Bruce.

Telegraph Sport can reveal that although former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca has been interviewed and is one of the preferred candidates of the public face of the consortium, Amanda Staveley, other members are still pushing alternative candidates forward.

It is continued evidence that while the consortium are united in their determination to make Newcastle a major force again in English and then European football, there are differing ideas about who to appoint as the football specialists needed to make that happen,

Fonseca interviewed well and the idea of his appointment has gone down relatively well on Tyneside; it has been stressed since that he remains just one of the potential candidates rather than the chosen one.

It is not thought an appointment is imminent, something which was relayed to Jones when he was asked to take temporary charge of the team, starting against Crystal Palace this weekend.

"My mood was one of upset to be honest because I had a good working relationship with Steve," Jones said in his first public outing as interim manager on Friday. "We got on professionally and personally and he is a really good man. It was really difficult on Wednesday because we had an excellent relationship, but we all know how quickly football moves on.

"I’ve been told I’ll definitely be in charge of the team against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, after that... I’m here on an interim basis, I just want to do the best I can for my football club, whether that is an assistant manager, manager or interim manager. I’m not looking beyond that.

"The future of this club looks rosy long term, but we have to focus on the games coming up and try to help the new owners by getting a win on the board."

There is still a preference to give the new manager a short term contract rather than the sort of long term deal Fonseca is seeking to go with his wage demands of around £6m a year.

Although Eddie Howe, Steven Gerrard and Lucien Favre have made the shortlist, with former Wigan Athletic and Everton boss Roberto Martinez’s name another to be circulated in the last few days, the one who has been featuring heavily in conversations since the start of the search is Frank Lampard.

As reported by Telegraph Sport more than a fortnight ago, the former England international has always been of interest to Newcastle’s new owners and is believed to be the preferred choice of other individuals involved in the decision process.

Interestingly, there are those who are also adamant Newcastle need to appoint someone with Premier League experience, with the precise knowledge of the sort of players needed to ensure the Magpies can win their Premier League relegation battle.

Lampard is also likely to have been spoken to in the last few days, although this has not been confirmed at this stage.

There is a suggestion that the Saudi Arabian’s who have a controlling 80% stake in the club through the country’s Public Investment Fund, like the idea of bringing in a big name manager like Lampard because of the pulling power he will have for players and sponsors alike.

Jones refused to be drawn on whether Martinez, who he coached under at Wigan and Everton, as well as the Belgium national side, was interested in the job, but did give his view on what qualities the new man would need.

"It’s all just rumours and speculation at the moment," Jones added. Asked what qualities a new manager needs, he replied. "I think about the way I was brought up and you think about the area, all anybody wants is hard work, honesty and making sure you are fighting for everything.

"That represents the North East and it represents the Geordies, whichever manager comes in, that would represent a great starting place. Having met the new owners, they will recruit based on those skills and the other aspects you need to be successful."

PIF will make the final decision on who replaces Bruce having listened to the recommendations of those on the ground in the UK, a process that is expected to last well into next week.

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