Steve Bruce aware of danger Newcastle find themselves in

Damian Spellman, PA
·2-min read

Steve Bruce has insisted nobody at Newcastle needs to be told how serious the club’s Premier League plight is.

The Magpies saw their advantage over the bottom three dwindle to a single point over the weekend after they could only draw 0-0 at West Brom as Fulham claimed a shock victory at Liverpool.

Newcastle head into Friday night’s clash with Aston Villa knowing a win would ease their fears and pile the pressure on the clubs below them, but anything else would set fresh alarm bells ringing.

Bruce said: “We’ve understood that for a while now. If you’re in the bottom six or seven… Look, we’re not alone, I’m sure all the other managers will be getting asked the same question.

“We all don’t want to be down there, we simply haven’t won enough football matches not to be. It’s quite simple: we have to understand what’s before us and get enough points to make sure we stay here.”

Newcastle’s hopes were handed a boost on Thursday when Villa boss Dean Smith revealed Jack Grealish, who has missed the last four games with a lower leg injury, had an illness and will not be involved at St James’ Park.

Bruce, who managed Grealish during his time in charge at Villa Park, has little doubt as to the 25-year-old England international’s influence on Smith’s side.

He said: “Look, when you’re without your best players – and certainly Jack, in my opinion, is their best player – then of course you’re going to miss him.

“He’s had a wonderful rise over the last few years. I had the pleasure of managing him for a couple of years and have watched his development, and he’s turned into a top, top player, the kid. They’re a better side when Jack’s in it, it’s as simple as that.”

Villa retained their top flight status at the end of last season by a single point as the Magpies finished comfortably in 13th place, but roles have been reversed this time around.

Newcastle’s cause has not been helped by injuries to key attacking trio Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron and while all three will be missing for some time yet, head coach Bruce revealed they are making progress.

Asked about 10-goal leading scorer Wilson, he said: “He’s four weeks in, so we’re seeing him on the grass and he’s progressing – and that goes for Allan and Almiron as well.

“We’ve just got to let nature take its course. We hope by the end of the international break they’ll be there or thereabouts.”