In Brief

Newcastle United: axe looms over Steve McClaren

Magpies' board to meet with under-fire manager today as the sacking rumours grow ever louder

Steve McClaren's position as manager of Newcastle United appears to be hanging by a thread - and one that is fraying more with each day that passes.

It was widely expected that the former England boss would be fired yesterday, after his side's chastening defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday

However, his reprieve is thought to be temporary. Lee Charnley, the managing director, Graham Carr, the chief scout, and Bob Moncur, the club ambassador, met yesterday, reportedly with a view to discussing potential replacements.

Luke Edwards of the Daily Telegraph claims Newcastle have indicated that McClaren will leave today and have summoned him to a meeting to that effect, with the manager himself said to have told friends he expects to be removed from his position.

The pressure on the Magpies' boss ramped up yesterday when he was heavily criticised in a statement from the Newcastle United Fans Forum, which demanded immediate action from the board to remove him.

"Someone has to be accountable and decisions must be made. What Newcastle fans want is a team of 11 players in black and white shirts that understand their role to perform to their maximum - week in, week out," it said.

"We have entrusted the board of NUFC to ensure that the right personnel are in place to carry out this basic expectation."

Part of the delay is thought to come from internal uncertainty over McClaren's successor, with a number of big names in the frame.

The Guardian's Louise Taylor reports that Rafa Benitez, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager, is one of them, along with Brendan Rodgers, Nigel Pearson and the bookies' favourite, David Moyes.

However, the Telegraph claims Harry Redknapp has shown some willingness to take over on a short-term deal until the end of the season. The one-time Tottenham Hotspur manager has been out of management for more than a year, after leaving Queens Park Rangers deep in a relegation battle last season.

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