Get back to basics, keep Callum Wilson in shape and win a game! How Newcastle’s next boss can lift the fog – .

Get back to basics, keep Callum Wilson in shape and win a game! How Newcastle’s next boss can lift the fog – .


Graeme Jones bought himself and Newcastle owners a bit of time with what was seen as an ugly improvement at Selhurst Park.

The Magpies would have lost that game seven days earlier, but taking a point interim boss Jones proved one thing to Amanda Staveley and Co – he can be trusted to ‘stop the rot’, as he called her.

Word last night was that talks with the candidates will continue this week, but a date is likely next month. So what priorities await the new man?

Back foot

Former boss Steve Bruce has made a great game using “forefoot football” this season. This left the team brutally exposed at the back and the first thing Jones did was abandon that tactic.

That has to be the way forward: reprogramming defenders capable enough to, well, defend.

It frustrated Bruce that these players were as good as brainwashed by his predecessor Rafa Benitez. Now is the time for them to join a cult that worships at the Altar of Resistance.

Keep Cal burning

“The best match finisher I’ve ever worked with,” said Callum Wilson’s Jones after his superb overhead kick scored a point to cancel Christian Benteke’s header opening. But Wilson has been in the throes of muscle tension since joining last year.

Against Southampton in August, he inexplicably remained despite a thigh injury and duly missed four matches.

Saturday, the tribute on the terrace, “Hey Callum Wilson, how did you score that goal?” Could well have been a real investigation, because he was not allowed to score with his back to goal 10 meters in the middle of the bodies. Six goals in his last six games underscore his importance.

Forward Callum Wilson crucial for Newcastle’s chances of having a positive season

No train, no gain

Part of the Newcastle squad have long wanted fewer days off and more structure in their schedule. It should be an easy win for any incoming manager.

Benitez’s sessions were repetitive and meticulous and could be frustrating – but it’s only recently that there has been an admission among some of the benefits of such preparation. The owners know how important it is to appoint a coach who can improve the players already registered.

Toon in the mood

There is a wave of euphoria that can be surfed in light of the takeover, especially during home games. Even Saturday’s visit by league leaders Chelsea shouldn’t be called off, given the likely buzz in the first game at St James’ after Bruce.

Saying the right things may seem simple, but supporters crave a manager whose words excite and thrill them. Don’t underestimate the power of good communication.

Where’s Willock?

Joe Willock scored in seven straight games at the end of last season to win a £ 22million transfer from Arsenal. He’s barely sniffed the goal this season and looks off the beat. He was abandoned by Jones at Palace, but the talent clearly lies in the midfield – rediscovering this is a must for the next manager.

Joe Willock didn't have the same impact he did after joining Arsenal last season

Joe Willock didn’t have the same impact he did after joining Arsenal last season

Get Riyal

For all of the above, the new boss is due to knock on the conference room door and release a few Saudi riyals before January. A scout told Sportsmail which positions Newcastle are considering for the New Year – it would have been quicker to list the positions they are not looking for!

There is room for improvement throughout the park, but the priority needs to be a central defender, a central midfielder and cover for Wilson in attack – indeed, the backbone of the team needs to be strengthened.

Win a game!

Newcastle are nine years without a Premier League win after a relatively good run of matches.

There is a danger, with a wickedly difficult December ahead, that they will enter the realms of relegation becoming statistically more likely than not. It doesn’t matter how the next man, or even Jones, gets it, but a victory to kick off this new Saudi-led era would be worth its weight in oil.


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