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Football in brief: Under-pressure Steve Bruce unlikely to be kicked out of Newcastle nest just yet

STEVE BRUCE will cling to his job at Newcastle amid mounting frustration over a rapidly decaying season. The Magpies became the first side to lose a Premier League game to seemingly doomed Sheffield United on Tuesday when they went down 1-0 at Bramall Lane to stretch their own run without victory to eight games in all competitions. Newcastle remain eight points clear of the relegation zone, but they have collected only two of the last 18 on offer and scored only four goals in the process. However, it is thought head coach Bruce is in no immediate danger in the short term, with owner Mike Ashley desperately trying to sell the club and in no mood to launch a search for a replacement boss. That might change should the Magpies be dragged into yet another a relegation battle and Ashley will be conscious he left it too late to act in both 2009 and 2016 with dire consequences.

Owls are latest club to call off games

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY’S next two Championship games have been suspended due to a coronavirus outbreak at the Yorkshire club. The Owls reported a ‘significant number’ of personnel returned positive results last week. They managed to play Exeter in the FA Cup last weekend but will not be able to face Coaventry and Wycombe, on January 16 and 19 respectively, in the league. A Wednesday statement read: ‘The club informed the EFL that we would be unable to fulfil the fixtures following recent positive Covid-19 tests.’

Saints given new date for cup clash

SOUTHAMPTON’S postponed FA Cup third-round tie against Shrewsbury has been rescheduled for next Tuesday, with their Premier League fixture at Leeds the following day called off. The cup game had been set for last Saturday but was postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak at the League One club. A new date must now be found for Southampton’s visit to Leeds.