Steve McLaren took Newcastle United for training this morning (10th March) but it looks increasingly likely that his days as manager are numbered. With just 10 games left to save their season, Newcastle United look like they will turn to Rafa Benitez to replace the beleaguered McLaren.
William Hill currently have Benitez as a nailed on favourite for the Newcastle United hotseat. He's 2/7 to be the next manager, well ahead of David Moyes who's 4/1. Nigel Pearson at 9/1 and Brendan Rodgers at 12s are the other potential candidates. Many pundits expect that Benitez will be installed by the weekend provided he has assurances from the board.
The appointment of Benitez would signal NUFC's intention that they expect to survive the relegation battle. If Newcastle were to go down then we couldn't see Benitez staying on to rebuild in The Championship. If someone like David Moyes or Nigel Pearson were to become manager then that perhaps would give Newcastle some managerial continuity should they be relegated.
And relegation is potentially on the cards. Aston Villa are goners but you can back them at 1/200 for the drop with William Hill. Norwich are next at 1/3 whilst Newcastle are at 4/7 with their North East rivals Sunderland. If you like an outside bet then you can currently get 16/1 that Crystal Palace or Swansea will be one of the three teams going down.
If betting on relegation doesn't appeal then you can always have a punt on who will stay up. Don't waste your money betting on Aston Villa to do the great escape even though they're at a low 25/1 to survive. Norwich are at 9/4 whilst you can get 5/4 for both Newcastle and Sunderland.
Would the arrival of a new manager at St James Park save Newcastle? We're not convinced but McLaren's departure could be a massive boost throughout the ranks at Newcastle. If they can beat Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby then that could be a massive kick start for survival.
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