Sack looms for Newcastle boss Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew is still clinging on to his job as Newcastle manager despite mounting speculation he will be sacked in the wake of Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Southampton.
The Magpies were making no comment on Sunday but Pardew's position looks increasingly untenable as they sit rooted at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League with two points from four games.
Their plight has left many convinced owner Mike Ashley will act before next weekend's clash with Hull City - and coincidentally Tigers boss Steve Bruce is the man most strongly linked with the St James's Park role.
But former Sunderland boss Bruce has acted to distance himself from the speculation, telling BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "It isn't nice - it's a horrible Sunday morning for him and I find it very, very disrespectful that I'm linked with somebody else's job when he's still in a job.
"It's a hard enough job we've all got. We all know what it's like now in football management.
"That part of the game will never change, but for me at the moment I'm just concentrating on the game against West Ham (on Monday night) and leaving all that aside."
Pardew's reign slumped to a new low at St Mary's Stadium as fans held up a 'Pardew Out' banner in front of the watching Ashley.
And while the majority of Magpies fans appear to believe the end is nigh for Pardew, they also fear the worst for the club's prospects for the remainder of the season.
Mark Jensen, editor of Newcastle supporters' magazine The Mag, said: "Clearly most people believe things will improve if Pardew goes but it looks like we are going to be one of the six or seven teams battling relegation whether he stays or not.
"I can't imagine any manager with a credible reputation putting themselves in the position of working under what appears to be the constraints at Newcastle.
"They want someone who is willing to do as he is told and not have a say in the transfer market so what kind of person does that leave you with?
"It pains me to say it as a Newcastle fan, but why would Steve Bruce want to leave Hull to come here?"
Pardew showed no intention of throwing in the towel in the wake of the humiliation on the south coast.
He told Sky Sports on Saturday: "It is not easy to digest and not easy for the players either to play under those circumstances, so we have to be strong and try and tough it out this week and come back next week.
''We just have to put ourselves on the line, really, and be brave. Certainly, we have a bit more quality than we showed today, for sure, and we need to get that on the pitch.''
Pardew famously signed an eight-year contract with Newcastle just under two years ago, having led the Magpies to fifth place in the 2011-12 season.
The club's fortunes have waned significantly since then however, and Pardew's position came under great scrutiny in March when he headbutted Hull's David Meyler.
Newcastle fined him £100,000 and gave him a formal warning over that incident, while the Football Association handed down a seven-match touchline ban.
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