Steve Bruce under no illusion Newcastle are in a relegation dogfight

Steve Bruce is under no illusion Newcastle are in a relegation dogfight as they sit just one point above the drop zone ahead of hosting Aston Villa 

  • Newcastle face Aston Villa on Friday night sitting one points above the drop zone
  • Steve Bruce’s side have picked up just one win in their last 14 league matches 
  • Bruce claims he does not need reminding of his side’s decline down the table 
  • The Magpies are boosted by the absence of Villa captain Jack Grealish on Friday 

Steve Bruce has insisted nobody at Newcastle needs to be told how serious the club’s Premier League plight is.

The Magpies saw their advantage over the bottom three dwindle to a single point over the weekend after they could only draw 0-0 at West Brom as Fulham claimed a shock victory at Liverpool.

Newcastle head into Friday night’s clash with Aston Villa knowing a win would ease their fears and pile the pressure on the clubs below them, but anything else would set fresh alarm bells ringing.

Steve Bruce maintains he does not need reminding how serious Newcastle’s current decline is

The Magpies lie one point above the relegation zone with just one win in 14 league matches

Bruce said: ‘We’ve understood that for a while now. If you’re in the bottom six or seven… Look, we’re not alone, I’m sure all the other managers will be getting asked the same question.

‘We all don’t want to be down there, we simply haven’t won enough football matches not to be. It’s quite simple: we have to understand what’s before us and get enough points to make sure we stay here.’

Newcastle’s hopes were handed a boost on Thursday when Villa boss Dean Smith revealed Jack Grealish, who has missed the last four games with a lower leg injury, had an illness and will not be involved at St James’ Park.

Bruce, who managed Grealish during his time in charge at Villa Park, has little doubt as to the 25-year-old England international’s influence on Smith’s side.

Bruce side are boosted by the absence of Jack Grealish in Friday’s clash with Aston Villa

He said: ‘Look, when you’re without your best players – and certainly Jack, in my opinion, is their best player – then of course you’re going to miss him.

‘He’s had a wonderful rise over the last few years. I had the pleasure of managing him for a couple of years and have watched his development, and he’s turned into a top, top player, the kid. They’re a better side when Jack’s in it, it’s as simple as that.’

Villa retained their top flight status at the end of last season by a single point as the Magpies finished comfortably in 13th place, but roles have been reversed this time around.

Newcastle are still without three key attacking stars including top scorer Callum Wilson (right)

Newcastle’s cause has not been helped by injuries to key attacking trio Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron and while all three will be missing for some time yet, head coach Bruce revealed they are making progress.

Asked about 10-goal leading scorer Wilson, he said: ‘He’s four weeks in, so we’re seeing him on the grass and he’s progressing – and that goes for Allan and Almiron as well.

‘We’ve just got to let nature take its course. We hope by the end of the international break they’ll be there or thereabouts.’

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