Newcastle United have no plans to make any changes at the top of the club.
Various media outlets had manager Alan Pardew one game from the sack, Derek Llambias on the verge of a return as chief executive, and Glenn Hoddle linked as director of football. But club sources insist there are no plans to appoint new faces to any of those positions at this stage.
A director of football or chief executive might be needed later in the year to close out the transfers needed this summer. But as the window does not open until June 1, no appointment is imminent.
Owner Mike Ashley decided he needed a director of football in his review of last season, but waited until mid-June to install Joe Kinnear, who left without a permanent signing.
Llambias resigned as managing director in June 2013 after his working relationship with Ashley broke down. Although the pair are understood to have made up, there are no immediate plans to bring him back.
Pardew is under pressure from supporters after a miserable start to 2014. Newcastle have lost seven out of nine games since Boxing Day (winning one) and have not scored since selling Yohan Cabaye four matches ago. Pardew also suffered a third consecutive defeat to neighbours Sunderland and made a feeble exit from the FA Cup at the first available opportunity.
It was also argued yesterday that dressing-room unrest was pushing the manager to the point of being sacked if they lose to Aston Villa on Sunday.
But neither the fans nor the players will have much influence on Ashley, who has not been seen at a home game since September.
His goal for this season is to finish in the top 10. Newcastle are currently ninth in the table, nine points ahead of 11th-placed West Ham. Pardew will, though, need to reverse his team’s negative momentum, and Sunday’s return of Loic Remy will be a big help.
The on-loan Frenchman has taken his share of the blame after missing the last three defeats having been sent off in a 0-0 draw at Norwich City.
“We have conceded 10 goals in three games,” he said. “At the same time we haven’t scored any goals.
“I know I have a big responsibility. The fans are expecting a lot from me.”
Remy was sent off after going head-to-head with Bradley Johnson.
“I should have kept my self-control,” Remy admitted. “Now I have learnt from my mistake and I won’t do it again. I think my team has missed me.
“It’s difficult when you cannot play, especially when the team is not playing very well. It’s a shame not to have the possibility to play.
“Now I will come back and try to help the team as much as I can.”
Newcastle’s March 9 game with Everton will be rearranged after the Toffees reached the FA Cup quarter-finals by beating Swansea City yesterday. The game had been due for live broadcast on Sky Sports.
Adam Armstrong scored the only goal as Newcastle won yesterday’s FA Youth Cup fifth round tie at Derby.