Steve Bruce

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce took first team training as normal on Tuesday despite the sack looming over his head, with the club’s new Saudi owners preparing for the first game of their tenure against Tottenham on Sunday.

Sportsmail understands the Magpies boss will be relieved of his duties this week, with PIF (Public Investment Fund) aware of the negative impact his presence in the dugout in the opening game, and have lined up a list of high-profile contenders to replace him.

The 60-year-old had been under-fire this season even before the £300million takeover came to light, with Newcastle currently second bottom in the Premier League table following a winless start, but it was business as usual for Bruce at their Benton training as he put the players through their paces.

Bruce even offered a smile during preparations for the Tottenham clash as he watched over the players alongside assistant boss Graeme Jones and first team coach Steve Agnew.

The veteran coach has been open about his prospects of being axed, but is in line to receive an £8m pay-off should he lose his job, with talks set to begin over his exit.

The new owners have a long list of potential candidates to step into the role – the favourite being former Dortmund boss Lucian Favre, who has been out of work since leaving the German outfit last year.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard are also on their list of targets.

There is set to be a jubilant atmosphere at St James’ Park for the visit of Tottenham as fans celebrate the end of Mike Ashley’s turbulent 14-year reign, with a bright future on the horizon for the Tyneside outfit.

Newcastle’s new owners – who are now recognised as the richest in world football – have acknowledged that leaving Bruce in charge for their first game threatens to spoil the atmosphere inside the stadium.

Some players returned to the training ground after three days off, and new board member Amanda Staveley visited Benton this week to greet players and staff.

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