Gary Neville on Mike Ashley’s latest move, Steve Bruce’s future & the relegation battle

Gary Neville does not expect a change in the NUFC dugout anytime soon, believing Mike Ashley will stick with his man Steve Bruce.

The Sky Sports pundit, who came through the ranks at Man Utd while Bruce was captain, says that a change would have already been made by now if Ashley wanted to pull the trigger – citing the international break as the ideal time to make changes.

Our once 10 point cushion from the dreaded drop zone has been slashed to just two in recent times, with most fans now fearing the worst ahead of a tricky final furlong to the campaign.

Neville has called for us to step up and start picking up our own points rather than relying on the poor form of other teams.

Here is what he said on his podcast about our situation:

“I’m not surprised, I think that Mike Ashley is likely to do that (stick with Bruce) at this moment in time and not panic.

“I think he expects to be down there, not right at the bottom and not fighting for relegation, but I don’t think he expects to be in the top half of the table.

“The injuries in the last few weeks have been a difficult one for Steve Bruce to contend with, but they’ve got a real fight on.

“Fulham losing to Leeds the other night was a good one for Newcastle, but they can’t keep relying on other results. “At some point, they’re going to have to win points themselves and that’s got to happen quickly.

“I can’t see them making a change. This would be the point; when you have two or three weeks to reset and get a new manager in.

“If they said they’re not going to do it, I doubt they’re going to do it at this point.

“The fans, we know what the fans think up there, we know they’re really unhappy with the situation in the club and with the manager.

“I think they’d generally support a change, but that’s not going to happen, it looks like.”

The truth is, Ashley should have shown Bruce the door months ago and it is clear that there are other motives as to why he hasn’t already been given the sack.

A multi-million pound payoff is mooted should Ashley pull the trigger, but by persisting to be frugal with his money, he is risking the far bigger reward of a potential £300m takeover.

Bruce would have lost his job months ago at any other top flight side – and Neville knows it. Two wins in 20, a fragmented dressing room and a completely impotent style of play are all in their own right reasons to dismiss a manager, yet somehow Bruce has managed to master all three.

It now seems like a straight shoot-out between us and Fulham for a place in next season’s Premier League.

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