Newcastle stars backing Steve Bruce despite Mauricio Pochettino and Rafa Benitez linksby Alex Milne
Newcastle United players are reportedly keen for Steve Bruce to stay as manager despite rumours suggesting the 59-year-old could be replaced in the near future.
The Magpies are on the verge of being sold to a Saudi-based consortium in a £300m deal, and it is thought they would be keen to bring in a big-name manager such as Mauricio Pochettino or Rafael Benitez if they do take charge at St James' Park.
But Bruce, who only joined the club last summer, guided his side to 13th in the Premier League before football was suspended, and is thought to be a well-liked figure with his squad.
According to the Daily Star the team are convinced Bruce is the right man to take them forward, and have been won over by his methods.
A source said: "Steve is popular with the players and a lot of them would be very disappointed if he left.
"Of course, footballers are accustomed to managers coming and going but there is a great rapport between management and players. There's a great atmosphere within the club.
"In fact, we've even had some lighthearted banter about the whole situation and what may happen to the gaffer if and when the takeover is finalised.
"But everyone feels the team was in a good place when football stopped and there has been real progress here."
Pochettino did little to play down speculation linking him with the role when he was asked about the prospect of a return to the Premier League last week.
When asked if he would consider taking charge of a club outside the top six, the former Tottenham boss said: "Yes I would (consider anything).
"Which clubs are the 'top six'? It changes. Today Tottenham and Arsenal are not in the top six.
"You need to respect all the clubs because they are working so hard. They are all spending and investing money and have a new strategy every season to try and be in the top six, the top eight or the top four.
"Today you cannot underestimate any club. They all have the capacity to find a way to be competitive."